A few months after his Withey or Withoutey exhibition at Magazine Gallery, English-born local illustrator and painter Dan Withey is holding a new exhibition, Visible Ink, at Dragonfly.
Visible Ink is a combination of two series, Unfair Navigation (which hasn’t been exhibited) and Spore. Withey says he is combining these two series, as they are both recent works that use ink and pen.
“The subjects kind of go together, it’s mostly autobiographical about how I’m attempting to make my way in the world, like everybody is, but I just deal with my problems through art, really,” Withey explains. “The Unfair Navigation series are all works from my journal that I was making while I was going through a bad time. The pen strokes are very rough and loose. The two bodies of work contrast but at the same time they really work well together, which is fantastic.”
Since moving to Adelaide from Birmingham in 2004, Withey has become a prolific illustrator and painter holding many exhibitions in Adelaide and around the country with his work appearing in magazines such as Monster Children. He creates intriguing characters that have a comic strip street art edge but Visible Ink's characters have a scribbling in your notepad feel to them. He says the characters in his new exhibition contain both desirable and undesirable traits.
“The characters do have stories behind them, some snippets of my personality; how I felt dealing with a particular situation, whether I dealt with it well or not, and now what I think looking back on those situations. Some of the characters are bits and pieces of others that contain both desirable and undesirable traits.”
His last exhibition, Withey or Withoutey, was mostly a showcase of his paintings.
“I was exhibiting some of my huge works, the biggest was 240cm by 120cm and featured my new Spore paintings, which took forever to make. It was worth it as I was pushing myself to really come up with something new. I would say that there are more similarities than differences between the subjects in the two shows (With or Withoutey and Visible Ink). It’s always about the way I feel about a situation, it’s all my opinion. It might be wrong, it might be right. They’re two shows that are trying to make sense of the world, really.
“Withey or Withoutey was more of a environmental standpoint, my global view of the world, and Visible Ink is more of a localised personal issue. But as with all the work I do, my mantra is striving to create better, weirder and more complex works. With every show I’m trying something different.”
Withey has a busy schedule for the rest of the year after Visible Ink concludes.
“I have a show for the opening night of the Fringe at the East Terrace Continental, just across the road from the Garden of Unearthly Delights, which is a fantastic spot, I’m really looking forward to it. I’m also working towards a show at 19 Karen Contemporary Art Space on the Gold Coast on Saturday, March 30. I’m also planning a show for SALA and shows in Melbourne and Sydney. Plus, I’m doing lots of commissioned work at the moment, some massive works, which are really great. I’m working full time really.”
Dragonfly Bar and Dining
Thursday, January 17 to Saturday, February 9
*Please note that all the Dan Withey images above have been edited to fit as landscape images.