I first met David when I was curator of Falmouth Art Gallery and I organized an exhibition with him in 2000. I have always felt David has a strong visual language that he was creating for himself.Although eclectic in its sources of reference from St. Ives modernism to Ancient symbolism, David's work has developed into a unique style with an identity all of its own.
His large constructed sculptures, which he calls stele, pronounced 'steles', make reference to Ancient Egyptian and Greek relief stone carvings, through their variety of textural surfaces and essentially monochrome colouring. Each side of these rectangular forms acts as a painting in its own right and echo the painted constructions of St. Ives modernist, Ben Nicholson.
David has extended the method of collage and overlay used in his works on paper to incorporate more robust materials on the surfaces of the sculptures such as Hessian, corrugated card and plaster. Working with the natural colours of these materials, combined with the occasional splash of gold leaf and reiterating the mark making that runs throughout his work such as circles, crosses, and scruffy techniques, he makes the sculptures seem like contemporary hieroglyphics telling their own unique story. These 3d works are monumental and create a commanding meditative presence.
His paintings that relate to the sculptures also have a peaceful, calming atmosphere - this time created through his use of colour that is very subtle and sensitive. His over painting and scratching through colour layers is precise and sets up spatial conundrums that fascinate the eye. I particularly like the use of his very contemporary sky blue with grey, white and warmer reds and oranges.
These paintings on canvas still maintain the grid like structure that has underpinned much of David's work. But he has also started to move way from this with another series of paintings which are opposite in feeling and have a more frenzied, hyperactive quality and are more organic in composition.
Still keeping with essential mark making, these works have more figurative references. They are more visceral and primitive than his other works and act like visual fireworks. I think this show demonstrates that David Briggs is never complacent in his constant search for new forms of expression and the sophistication of his language and technique allow him to achieve it with great finesse and success.