An Original Painting by David Shillinglaw from his ‘Human Soup’ collection
Acrylic on Wood
Human Soup is an ongoing body of work by David Shillinglaw. An artistic practice that moves between drawing, painting, collage and found objects attempting to describe the construction and fragmentation of the Human experience.
Human Soup is… rush hour in any city.
Human Soup is… a boat full of migrants crossing the ocean.
Human Soup is… an overcrowded beach full of humans on holiday cooking in the sun.
Human Soup is… border control stamping passports of people who are let in or left out.
Human soup is… a landfill or ocean full of plastic bottles and flip-flops.
We are croutons floating in this broth. Planet Earth is a boiling bowl of Homo Sapien soup.
David Shillinglaw’s motivation to make art is an ongoing obsession about how to capture or conjure the universal themes of what it means to be alive in the ‘human hive’ – a universal set of ingredients that we all produce and consume. Every day, we fill ourselves up and empty ourselves out, from royalty and heads of state to the lowest lives of the displaced or imprisoned. We all suffer the same appetites and desires, fears and misfortunes.
The artwork is colourful and playful, deliberately humorous and, at times, ridiculous. Somewhere between ancient hieroglyphics and comic books or board games, the works present a kind of human portrait. Not obviously male or female, old or young, the figures resemble totems, statues, chess pieces or key holes. There is just enough information to suggest the human figure in which the characters represent everyone or nobody. A painting takes on its own personality, it becomes more than the sum of its parts. Like Frankenstein’s monster it wakes up, it speaks for itself, and it answers back.
David Shillinglaw aims to construct a visual world that celebrates and incorporates the ingredients of what it means to be human; constructing heavily layered and detailed descriptions while also reducing and simplifying ideas into abstractions that seek to describe the complexities and simplicities of the human condition. The work is a celebration of differences and coexistence, global and local story telling; the way we communicate to one another and to ourselves.
We are all strong, we are all vulnerable, we are all hungry, we are all courageous, we are all hideous, and we are all fantastic.