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The Many Dimensions of David Spriggs

Words:

Edd Norval
January 29, 2021

David Spriggs’ works are big, in both physical scale and their symbolic value. The meaning that can be inferred is vast, as well as the effect they have being truly palpable. His use of lighting and space immerses his audience, in a way that photographs could never do justice to. If anything, David Spriggs’ work is something we should strive to experience, rather than look upon from a distance.

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Instead of creating works of illusion, or manipulation, Spriggs operates semi-cerebrally. That is, the function of his art won’t stop when it meets your eye, but will continue onwards and inwards into your mind. His technically complex pieces require a great deal of comprehension both compositionally and metaphorically. 


Inside the mind, we are challenged by Spriggs’ work to decipher exactly how and why we compose them the way we do. What do we see in them? Why do we see them that way? Constructed of multiple layers, each with individual parts that, when stacked, compile into a whole. Spriggs’ images have a life, shape-shifting depending on our own perspective and challenging how our own optical system interprets this.


What the audience is required to do is fill in the blanks. Just like completing a sentence with words missing, we too are tasked to create a whole image out of parts. It’s in these spaces that our own imaginations, the things that we have built up collectively over years of disseminating information, create the whole that we want, not necessarily the one that the artist intended.

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Although some are clear in their intention, others are so abstracted as to form ghostly reflections in our minds, with a true three-dimensional power and weight. Using topographical techniques - the same way as true-to-life maps are constructed - Spriggs’ builds layer after layer, using the technique as a means of exploring certain topics. In a recent piece Regisole from 2015, the artist depicts a mounted policeman, the colours indicating the heat distribution of man and animal, drawing parallels to the thermal technology employed by military and surveillance organisations. 


Utilising this piece to deconstruct the idea of state, power and contemporary societal issues, Spriggs’ also borrows more from science than just topography. In several pieces, the artist configures his swirling shapes, reminiscent of weather occurrences, around the golden ratio - a number that is considered ‘divine’ through its recurring appearances in architecture, geometry, art and nature - to construct something that could be considered ‘perfect’ when viewed from the right place. 


Spriggs’ art is always about provoking his audience to question what they see and consider why they are looking at things from a certain perspective, be that where they are physically situated or how exactly the image is thought of. By challenging his audiences in these ways, the artist has built up a body-of-work that can be recontextualised as the zeitgeist shifts. His meditations on state power and the value of wealth are particularly pertinent in these times, as timeless as they are of the time. 

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