Pure Evil

That Art Gallery is a contemporary art space in Bristol, England.

Open from 11am - 6pm, Tuesday - Saturday* 

15th June - 15th July 2017  

'Tales of Ordinary Madness' : David Shillinglaw


Download/View a PDF of available works HERE


“Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead.” : Charles Bukowski


How do we measure madness? How can you depict a feeling? Our physical and emotional conditions define us, far more than the material objects we own, for under the surface is our true identity: “How you are? Is who you are”. 

Some people are ‘normal’, appearing balanced through life (or so it would seem). The fact is, however, most of us will experience some form of mental illness in ourselves or people around us. The idea of ‘normal’ for me seems to be the problem. Humans are complex creatures, reacting to a global landscape full of contradictions and anxieties. A world where one person’s passion is another person’s poison. We attempt to order the chaos of our conditions and behaviours with laws, therapies, medicines and faiths, but the madness will always be there, relative and determined by the person next to whom you are standing. 

David says about his artwork: “For me, art is a language for things I cannot talk about. In a world so obsessed with perfection, strength and beauty, I feel that art has the power to speak about and celebrate aspects of the human condition which are difficult to describe and define, traits such as vulnerability, insecurity and anxiety. My artwork draws upon my own experiences, a journal of sorts, a self-portrait, whilst also observing people around me, and around the world. My focus is humans; their behaviours, complexities and the conditions in which they exit. It is my aim to draw attention to the fact that “It is OK to not be OK”.

Throughout the work, there is an attempt to find order and sense with collage and paint; ideas are layered and composed with a heightened sense of processing, figuring-out and problem solving. Many of the works carry marks and patches like scars and skin grafts. The artist can be seen as a Frankenstein building a monster, working towards the right combination of elements and energy to bring the effort to life. The works for the exhibition have been made over the last few years on a variety of surfaces, from impressive large-scale paintings on canvas, all the way through to smaller, intricate collages on book covers. 


*Opening times may vary - if in doubt please email for an appointment.