Dan Withey, ‘It’s an Election Year’ (detail), acrylic on board, 50 x 70cm. Photo courtesy the artist.
2 May – 8 September 2022
An exhibition of newly created masks. I have always had a fondness for the unknown; for me,
masks represent and make me question what is behind them. The idea of something or someone being multiple things at once really interests me and it’s something I have only dabbled in until now. So, it should be a fun show and will hopefully be refreshing for audiences, compared to the physical masks we have all had to wear lately.
– Dan Withey, 2022
Dan Withey lives in Tarntanyangga-Adelaide. Born in Birmingham, England, Withey migrated to South Australia in 2004 as a teenager. Following completing his degree in illustration Withey has worked as an artist. He is represented by Penny Contemporary, Tasmania.
Withey’s art practice draws on graphic art, storytelling, illustration, and patterning to explore thresholds: between the imagination and ‘reality’, representation and decoration, inner worlds, and the public subject. Primarily working in acrylic paint, along with ink and pencil, Withey creates vivid, playful, and surreal compositions that recall the absurdity of dreamscapes and traverse the domestic to the fantastic.
Veering between abstraction and figuration – sometimes in a single work – Withey’s paintings adopt a humorous, even irreverent attitude. The strangeness encapsulated in Withey’s paintings is the experience of contemporary life, existential angst, and its effect on the human subject.
Favouring clean lines, fine detail, and flat colours, Withey builds complex compositions that explore spatial rather than pictorial or geometric techniques of representation.
Central to Withey’s formal approach is the juxtaposition of scale, strong colours, and detailed patterning. Recurrent tropes include birds, cats, robots, rainbows, nature, architecture and simplified human forms and emblems of renewal.
This exhibition was presented as part of SALA Festival 2022.