Ian Davenport

b. 1966

Ian Davenport (b. 1966, Sidcup, Kent) is renowned for his abstract paintings, on which colour is applied in vertical strips and ellipses. He studied at Goldsmiths’ College of Art in London, graduating in 1988. Since participating in Freeze, the exhibition curated by Damien Hirst in 1988, Davenport has been closely associated with the generation of Young British Artists. His paintings are executed by pouring paint over canvases, boards and aluminium panels, tilted so that the final composition is determined in an interaction between gravity and the paint’s viscosity. By predetermining both materials and processes, Davenport prioritizes experimentation in his painting. In 1991 he was nominated for the Turner prize, and in 1999 he was a prize winner in the John Moores Liverpool Exhibition.


Davenport’s first solo exhibition was held at Waddington Galleries in 1990, and in the same year his work was also seen in The British Art Show, which toured to Leeds City Art Gallery and the Hayward Gallery, London. He has had public exhibitions at Dundee Contemporary Arts (1999), Tate Liverpool (2000) and Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (2004). Recently he has shown extensively worldwide including: Galerie Hopkins, Paris; Galerie Slewe, Amsterdam; Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York; Hakgojae Gallery, Seoul, Korea.


In 2003, Davenport produced a wall painting for the Tate Triennial and was commissioned by the Contemporary Art Society in 2004 to make a wall painting for the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Warwick University. Davenport was also commissioned by Southwark Council and Land Securities to produce ‘Poured Lines: Southwark Street’, a 48 metre long painting, as part of the regeneration of Bankside, which was completed in 2006. He has since continued to receive numerous commissions, from the Mayor of London to design an ‘Arty Wenlock’ for the 2012 Olympics, to Fabergé and Vistajet to design a flagship aircraft in 2013. A comprehensive monograph of the artist’s work was published in 2014 by Thames & Hudson with an introduction by Damien Hirst. Davenport collaborated with Dior for their Dior Lady Art project, designing a signature Lady Dior Bag and matching accessories, launched at Art Basel Miami 2016. Davenport was invited by Swatch to exhibit a large-scale installation at the 57th Venice biennale, and to create a limited-edition Swatch timepiece called ‘Wide Acres of Time’. 

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