On Tuesday 18th February myself and Heather Young set out to visit David Black; one of Inkwell’s students of the past 18 months. In June David will hold his first solo exhibition here at Inkwell along with delivering an artist talk to coincide with his exhibition. We travelled from Leeds to David’s home in Menston, with the intention of viewing the work which he wished to exhibit and also to discuss how he should present his artist talk.
On arrival we were welcomed with a lovely vegetarian lunch of butternut squash salad and cookies all courtesy of Marks and Spencer. David talked about how his father once worked for Marks and Spencer sweeping floors initially before working his way up to a higher position.
On entering his lounge we were greeted with a very large collection of David’s work from the past 18 months; which included many bold and colourful abstract and figurative pieces along with some very elaborate drawings. Displayed in his lounge on the walls and mantelpiece were many old black and white photographs of David’s family; some of whose life experiences inspired much of David’s work. Listening to David’s stories about his father’s experience of the holocaust in the Second World War and his Jewish heritage, I was able to gain an insight into how he influenced David and his art. One painting which was notable for this illustrates gold on a tree and David described how this depicts the story of encroaching foes trying to take peoples possessions and lives.
Another of David’s influences in his work is his lived experience of mental health difficulties, which he depicted in his figurative paintings of faces with splitting heads and of the old High Royds Hospital, a former psychiatric hospital south of Menston which has now been converted into a residential village.
We had the opportunity to take a glimpse of David’s artist studio, which is set up in his spare room in his home. On entering the room you are immediately confronted with painted faces and shape outlines on two of the plainly decorated walls. David described how he was motivated to paint these on the wall after his sister passed away. Also in the studio is a set up of a desk and chair where he carries out his regular painting activities and there laid one of his paintings which he is currently working on.
After looking through all of David’s work it was clear that much of it was emotive in content and of exceptional standard. With so many pieces to choose from we wanted to ensure he selected his strongest pieces, ones which would represent the journey he has taken from when he first started coming to Inkwell to the present day. Because he also had many pieces of art on paper, wood and canvas, it was suggested that he display some of these on the walls and then to have his drawings on paper sitting loose for people to look through. This way he could exhibit his artist journey through the different mediums he uses.
We are really looking forward to hosting David Black’s solo exhibition at Inkwell on 13th June – 15th July and also his artist talk will be held on Saturday 5th July from 5pm till 7pm.
By Alison Wilson
Exhibition Team Member
Artist Talk Coordinator