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David Price

The Green Fuse

3rd February - 12th March, 2011

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The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees
Is my destroyer. And I am dumb to tell the crooked rose
My youth is bent by the same wintry fever...

From "The force that through the green fuse drives the flower"
By Dylan Thomas (18 Poems, pub. 1934)

The luminous and meticulously executed paintings in David Price's exhibition The Green Fuse describe a gothic-pastoral landscape that is born both of his fascination with the essential 'strangeness' of nature, and of his engagement with and appreciation of works by seminal Renaissance painters and innovative printmakers such as Dürer, Altdorfer and Brueghel, whose art provides a source of both imagery and inspiration. The defining line used in intaglio printmaking by the German masters appeals directly to Price, who is himself a skilled etcher, and elements of the technique inform his painting & sculpture.

The natural world appears in Price's work as a highly mutable and constantly shifting plane of existence where clearly defined narrative elements can suddenly be recognised and re-imagined as entirely nonsensical. Saints and demons, the characters that populate these landscapes, appear & disappear throughout Price's work in strange and varied contexts, their intentions remaining ambiguous–changing masks and switching roles from one scene to the next.

It is perhaps the ambiguous role of nature itself within the urban landscape in which Price lives and works that informs his perspective. In London, as in most cities, nature is subjugated, restrained & repressed by the urban environment–yet it is also resilient and ever ready to reclaim the upper hand with a slow and unwavering violence. The 'green fuse that drives the flower' in Dylan Thomas' poem is also the force that sends creepers wending around buildings and roots cracking through concrete paving slabs–transforming ordered and sanitized streets into disturbed gothic landscapes.

Price takes inspiration in these tenacious and transformational qualities, and–aligned with a deep intellectual and aesthetic understanding of composition, light and form–he creates entire worlds where nature has ultimately triumphed. In these extraordinary paintings, painstakingly laid down in delicately applied slivers of line and colour, we have windows into a world that is strangely ordered, oddly familiar and bizarrely beautiful.

David Price is a recent graduate of the Royal College of Art, is a fellow of the Royal Academy (printmaking dept.) and was featured in the 2009 Bloomberg New Contemporaries. He tutors in drawing practice at Tate Modern, and has recently shown at the Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff, and Alma Enterprises, London.