MEDITATION SEX MUSIC
CONVERSATION WITH SELF
In a mass-produced culture held together by feed after feed of advertising, self praise, critique and a solid amount of bad energy. Is painting still a bourgeoisie sport? Is painting just as superficial and as irrelevant as an Instagram models fan base? Probably!
However when we take away the hype, the idea of the celebrity painter and think for one minute about what painting means we can still find that the physical act of painting is still a primal need. Is this primal need to paint important? Yes!
To communicate, to distract, to create beauty, to express pain, to make marks, to be back in the cave, to live by a mantra that repeats like a breath reminding us we are here. Am I just writing all this to make my own painting practice seem more interesting than other painter’s practices? Yes!
Because I normally bring marks and paint together. Now I can make sentences that might be as special as the shit I paint. People reading my special words will be wowed and understand my paintings, then beauty and good energy will flow through these peoples veins. And blah, in truth this painting show of mine is just that. A painting show, I make paintings.
Why not? I need to!
I do not know!
I do not think about it! I’m a painter so I paint. Oh, and about the paintings? The process is life, fluid, good vibes. I paint nothing and in painting nothing, I paint everything lol. I do hope you enjoy these paintings because my internal world is all there to be seen. -DG
BACK TO BASICS
Jane Llewllyn, The Adelaide Review, 2019
While David Griggs’ Mediation Sex Music explores similar themes to his previous exhibition, Horror Business, it’s a drastic departure in terms of approach and style.
“This time I wanted to make a series of paintings that are my internal world but are also very positive and full of energy,” Griggs says. “It’s the flipside to the Horror Business approach.”
Griggs, who now resides in Sydney after relocating from Manila a year ago, changed his approach in order to create these works. Instead of sourcing images and using notes from his diary as a starting point, Griggs went to the studio and just let the physicality of painting take over.
“It was about paint and being in the moment, being present and feeling that energy, your physical self and your mental self at one with the canvas,” he says. “It was weirdly liberating.”
Through the process of creating these paintings, Griggs spent time re-evaluating what it is about painting that he loves. He realised that approaching it from a very simple, primal perspective gave him the most satisfaction.
“I was dealing with paint and colour, I was dealing with texture and scale,” he says. “I was looking at the basics of paintings but at the same time trying to develop a language I didn’t know I had yet. I enjoyed the process and didn’t care if I succeeded or failed, I just went for it.”
Griggs wanted the work to have a human element to it, as he explains: “I wanted the physicality and movement to be really present in the work. I added a lot of linear marks, which I have never done before – it was very direct.”
The way Griggs has applied the paint to the canvas is different to previous work and again is something he did instinctively. “The paint is very thick – it’s more like drawing than painting. I still use a lot of brushes but a lot of the linear markings are straight from the tube. This was something I hadn’t done before, but it felt like the right approach at the time.”
While the ideas and concepts behind Meditation Sex Musicare similar to previous work, and the process of creating the works is still cathartic and a type of therapy for Griggs, these new paintings have a freedom not seen in his early work.
“While there is still a lot of depth and complexities within colour and composition, which is innate in the way I work, I wanted to be excited by painting again and to do this I had to try something different and learn from it,” he says.
b. 1975, born Sydney,
Lives and works in Sydney
In David Griggs’ graffiti-trash canvases, tattooed skeletons and religious rituals collide with gun-toting cartoon characters and the Ku Klux Klan. Griggs’ journey into this street carnival of politics and spirituality began at the age of eighteen, while photographing scenes of Indian and Nepalese poverty for an underground newspaper. Later, he spent time with refugees on the Thai-Burmese border. But it was the cacophonous confluence of cultures experienced during a 2005 residency in Manila that really revolutionised his practice. Griggs’ recent paintings are a personal response to what he saw in the Philippines: death, violence, poverty, religion and sex, all writ on the huge scale of Manila’s candy-coloured advertising banners. In a ‘reverse collage’ process riffing on the city’s visual complexity, Griggs commissioned banner painters to translate selected travel photographs into paintings, which Griggs then tagged with tattoo imagery, skulls, text and other symbolic elements.
David Griggs lives and works in Manila, where he continues to gain inspiration for his practice, and is rapidly gaining attention for his energetic and seductive canvases. In 2007, he won the Primavera Artist Prize having been selected for the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney’s: Primavera exhibition showcasing the best of Australia’s artists under 35 years of age. In 2008 Griggs was included in Art and Australia’s major publication, Current: Contemporary Art from Australia and New Zealand. Griggs’ work is held in major public collections throughout Australia, including Queensland Art Gallery / Gallery of Modern Art Brisbane, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, and the University of Queensland.