In his art David Sherry takes a wry look at the absurdities of modern day life. When I first became aware of Sherry's work, what struck me were his minimal drawings which, like those of David Shrigley, are delightfully irreverent. Sherry is best known, however, for his performance art and when he came to see me recently it was because he was working on one such project nearby.
Under the inspired curatorship of Claudia Zeiske of Deveron Arts, Sherry was artist in resident in the sedate Aberdeenshire town of Huntly. There he chose to focus on many people’s current bugbear – Health & Safety.
He met with the townspeople to find out what they thought about this topical subject and as part of his project undertook a Risk Assessment Course himself.
The residency culminated in the Ill Fated Fête: a two-day event in collaboration with Anthony Schrag, Katie Nicoll, Neil Mulholland and special guest Phil Kay, which included exhibitions, discussions, lectures and performances led by David and exploring the facts, myths and storytelling of our risk-conscious society.
David Sherry (Machine) Mind how you fall into the machine, 2010
Although born in Northern Ireland, like many of the best artists working in Britain today, Sherry is based in Glasgow, having completed the masters course at Glasgow School of Art in 2000. In 2003 he was shortlisted for the Becks Futures Prize along with his contemporary on the MFA course Rosalind Nashashibi, and was also part of Zenomap, the Scots project at the Venice Biennale that year.
Sherry brims with enthusiasm and energy, which is needed for his quirky and sometimes darkly humorous performance art. His work is deliberately accessible partly because it is so relevant to our everyday lives. He knows how to engage and even entertain his audience, yet within the apparent normality of his chosen subjects there are underlying themes that can be unsettling: he has a way of undermining the expected codes and structures of our behaviour and social decorum.
David Sherry The Out of Date Society, 2010
David Sherry Living the dream after death, 2010
David Sherry is currently showing his work in an exhibition entitled An einem schönen Morgen des Monates Mai at the 'Gesellschaft für Aktuelle Kunst' in Bremen, Germany (until 8 August 2010).
Jennifer Melville is Lead Curator at Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums, where she curates a collection dating from the 14th century to the present day and has an active programme of acquiring mostly contemporary art.
Jennifer Melville, July 2010.
David Sherry on Axis