David Hurley: Sketch #6, 2016 [acrylic and pen on wood]

David Hurley: Sketch #2, 2016 [acrylic and pen on wood]

We live in a cultural world of rich diversity. We live in a world where for the first time in our history it appears as if everything is at our fingertips. We are rich in knowledge and information. We can and are our own collators, we can become what we choose to become just by pulling together the strands of existence that suit us and that meld for us, 

A reflection of the rich diversity, and of the collating of that richness, is of course mirrored in that of the contemporary art world. Artists have begun to draw in dimensions of work that are truly broad and complex. A number of contemporary artists can now truly begin to term themselves as multimedian, multidimensional, and multidisiplinarian, These are aspects of the artworld that a few years ago might well have appeared to be little more than a gimmick. 

David Hurley: Sketch #1, 2016 [acrylic and pen on wood]

David Hurley: Sketch #3, 2016 [acrylic and pen on wood]

But we live in different times, we live in a century where the artist now comes first, and the discipline second. This is art for a new century, one where the artist brings together disciplines, connects them temporarily for an art piece, and then allows them to dissipate. It is the artist that is the collector and the connector, not the discipline. An artist can decide to use paint for a piece of artwork, but that does not define them as a painter, they can use photography for another piece, but that does not define them as a photographer, what it does do is define them as an artist.

It might appear as if I am just playing with words, playing with definitions, but it is a really important point to get across. We have to understand and recognise that a whole range of young contemporary artists are changing the position of the artist, creating the ideal of the artist outside of the definitions of discipline. And this leads me to David Hurley.

David Hurley: Sketch #5, 2016 [acrylic and pen on wood]

David Hurley: Sketch #4, 2016 [acrylic and pen on wood]

David Hurley is one of those new contemporary artists, those who define themselves by not defining themselves. David works within a whole host of disciplines, from painting to collage, from animation to sculpture, from video to installation, to performance. All have equal measure and all are used or not used by the artist depending on the perspective and vision that they are working through at that moment in time. 

To David, disciplines, materials, mediums, are fit for purpose. They are part of his exploration as an artist, and they are part of the enjoyment he gains from experimentation, from mixing and matching, from using the diverse, the untried, the untested. Compositions are complex relationships between materials and disciplines, and all of David's work shows a dynamism that comes from freedom, the freedom to express himself as he wishes.

Of course, while the diversity of experimentation and the relaxed use of medium plays an important role in David's creative life, he is also aware that there are constancy of themes that run throughout his work. For example, he is aware that we as individuals achieve our identity of the moment through the coming together of points of being. We are a conglomeration of past and present moments, of nodes of meaning and mismeaning, of sporadic, even cascading elements of self, some of which are imposed from outside, and some well up from within. All go to make up who we are, at least for the present moment.

David Hurley: Noe, 2016 [mixed media on wood]

David Hurley: Summer Eyes, 2016 [mixed media on wood]

David Hurley: Swallows, 2016 [mixed media on wood]

This sporadic cascading can be seen throughout David's work, and it makes for a wonderful cacophony of meaning. Small pieces of dialogue, boxed in scenes, solitary written names and subjects, all move around his compositions as readily as they do inside our heads. In fact, these compositions are just as much ours as they are David's. We are the connected and the unconnected, we are the juxtapositions and the tangents, the odd word, and the huddled scene. The artist often points out who we are by pointing out who they are, and for that we always have to be grateful.

David Hurley: E.E.C. 1: Demo, 2016 [digital collage]

David Hurley: E.E.C. 2: Demo, 2016 [digital collage]

David Hurley: E.E.C. 3: Demo, 2016 [digital collage]

All work is copyrighted to the artist. Please ask permission before sharing imagery. Thank you.


  1. Great piece of writing John - I LOVE the final line. loving David's work. :-)

    1. Thanks Stiofan, you are kind :) I do think that artists like David, and indeed yourself, are showing the way to a much richer, deeper expression of self through the use of the mixing of disciplines, mediums, materials. Good times ahead!


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