David Shrigley

Posted by Cara Seccafien, Curatorial Lead Supervisor

In 2010, my older sister introduced me to a webcomic that changed my life. The artist’s name was Lucy Knisley, and she has a degree in fine art from Chicago Art Institute. Her autobiographical comic books are endearing and inspiring and funny; they were so unlike other work I knew of being made by products of academia.

But I don’t really think of Lucy as a leader in the art world; she is an emerging artist. She isn’t very well known. Rather, I acknowledge the way Lucy bridges the gap between art school pretension and really awesome autobiographical socially relevant comic book art. And, likewise, I had a fabulous foundation of love for such things when I stumbled upon David Shrigley’s exhibition Brain Activity when I was travelling in San Francisco last summer.

Since the mid 90s, Shrigley has become internationally known as a leader in an art world that normally rejects comic book aesthetic and humour. He exhibits at world renowned galleries and works commercially at the same time. His drawings, sculpture, and videos, dryly and sarcastically deal with topics of death, religion, and human relationships with each other, animals, and their immediate environment.

His work is hilarious. When I first saw it in San Francisco, the walls of the gallery were papered in drawings, black line on white sketchbook paper. The drawings were crude and child-like and the text to accompany was just the right balance of ironic and real: hilarious in the context of unreal imagery. Following this was a gallery of sculptures and video that, also using text, mirrored the same sense of humour and played deliciously with the expectations of a gallery space.

If you aren’t already obsessed with David Shrigley, you should be.