Ian Davenport (b. 1966, Sidcup, Kent) is an abstract painter recognised for his complex colour compositions and whose work is informed by a deep understanding and enjoyment of paint.Since graduating from Goldsmiths’ College of Art in 1988, Ian Davenport has experimented with everyday tools such as watering cans, electric fans and nails, designed to exercise and limit his manipulation of paint. His various means of execution are driven by a desire to investigate the paradox between control and chance. It has led him to emphasise the action of painting as his subject matter, observing that ‘the how to paint became the what to paint’. He is well-known for using hypodermic syringes to pour liquid household paint onto surfaces. In 2008, Davenport noticed that the poured paint pooled into puddles on the floor; this visual contradiction between controlled, precise lines that then merged freely, autonomous and self-determining, embodied the paradox between control and chance. He has incorporated the puddles into his recent ‘Puddle Paintings’, which demonstrates Davenport’s process-led approach. He contemplates the colour harmonies of each composition, each possessed of their own visual sense of timing, rhythm, interval and accent.
Davenport received early recognition participating in Freeze, a student-curated exhibition at the Surrey Docks in London Docklands in 1988, which exhibited the work of Goldsmiths’ students who would later come to be loosely known as the ‘YBA’s’ (Young British Artists). Only two years after graduation, Davenport had his first solo exhibition at Waddington Galleries in 1990, and in the same year, his work was included in The British Art Show, touring to Leeds City Art Gallery and Hayward Gallery, London. He was nominated for the Turner Prize in 1991, and in 1999, was awarded the John Moores Painting Prize. Davenport has been the subject of numerous exhibitions worldwide, with solo museum shows at Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, Tate Liverpool and Dallas Contemporary. His work is held in important museum collections throughout the world, including Tate, London; Centre Pompidou, Paris; National Museum Wales, Cardiff; Von der Heydt Museum, Wuppertal; and Dallas Museum of Art, Texas.
In 2017, Davenport was invited to produce a pavilion for the 57th Venice Biennale for Swatch. Davenport painted the large-scale installation ‘Giardini Colourfall’ and, to coincide with this, designed the limited edition watch ‘Wide Acres of Time’. He has received numerous commissions for public installations, most notably by Southwark Council to produce ‘Poured Lines: Southwark Street’, a 48 metre long painting which was completed in 2006 as part of the regeneration of Bankside. Davenport has explored different mediums through his commissions, such as a hand-painted series of porcelain plates in collaboration with Meissen, commissioned by South London Gallery in 2016. In November of the same year, Davenport designed a special edition bag for Christian Dior’s Lady Art project.
A comprehensive monograph of his work was published in 2014 by Thames & Hudson, including an interview by Michael Bracewell, and newly commissioned texts by Martin Filler and Damien Hirst.
Waddington Custot represents Ian Davenport in the UK.Read more
Ian Davenport work auctioned for Covid Crisis
Exhibitions and Art Fairs
Modern & Contemporary
Masterpiece London 2022
The works in this group presentation demonstrate the translation of drawing into the three-dimensional; towering monumental installations protrude from the walls, and curl up from floors, while the negative space of the picture plane is variously architecturally structured, or revealed through light and shade.
The exhibition includes works by Peter Blake, Enrico Castellani, Michael Craig-Martin, Ian Davenport, Jean Dubuffet, Barry Flanagan, Peter Halley, Hans Hartung, Frank Stella and Bernar Venet among others.
One of Bernar Venet’s iconic Indeterminate Line sculptures, created in rolled steel, shows the French artist’s approach to conceptualising and configuring space.
Mgarap Bangke, a 2004 wall-based sculpture by Frank Stella, similarly towers in a tangle of industrial materials, which the artist has coerced into curving organic forms. Moulded sections of dark carbon fibre are supported by circular loops of unpainted stainless-steel tubing and geometric rails.
A new painting by Ian Davenport, titled Yellow and Purple (Double), is also displayed, portraying the artist's use of colour as a tool to delineate space through controlled movements of vibrant paint. Read more
NEW WORK: David Annesley
NEW WORK: Ian Davenport
Frieze New York
This diverse presentation of artworks spans several decades, with pieces connecting through a multitude of points. Read more
Art Basel Hong Kong
Our presentation includes works by Chu Teh-Chun, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Peter Blake, Ian Davenport, Jean Dubuffet, Barry Flanagan, Hans Hartung, Pierre Soulages and Fabienne Verdier. Read more