Approved: 12.09.2008

David Theobald

Artist, Film-maker, Curator, Lecturer / academic

Approved: 12.09.2008

David Theobald is a video artist born in Worthing in 1965. Although originally trained as a chemical engineer, he pursued a career in finance for fifteen years, living both in New York and London. Thriteen years ago he decided to change profession and dedicate himself to becoming a full-time artist, attaining an MFA in Fine Art from Goldsmiths in 2008.  Most recently, his main works have been animations structured from photographs, scanned images and rendered objects, blending these together to create a familiar yet alien environment. These may be structured as conventional films or as continuous loops with no discernible beginning or end.

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  • Location: Middlesex, London
  • Activities: Lecturing, Critical writing, Film-making
  • Categories: Animation, Digital, Film & Video, Photography
  • Tags: digital, humour, loop, banal, futile
 
 

Biography

David Theobald is a video artist born in Worthing in 1965. Although originally trained as a chemical engineer, he pursued a career in finance for fifteen years, living both in New York and London. Thriteen years ago he decided to change profession and dedicate himself to becoming a full-time artist, attaining an MFA in Fine Art from Goldsmiths in 2008.  Most recently, his main works have been animations structured from photographs, scanned images and rendered objects, blending these together to create a familiar yet alien environment. These may be structured as conventional films or as continuous loops with no discernible beginning or end.

Recent exhibitions include the solo show PC World at Motorcade/Flashparade, Bristol, the 2014 Oriel Davies Open, 971 Horses and 4 Zebras with a screening at the Tate Modern, Deepest Sympathy at Ikon, Birmingham and Animate Project's' Digitalis. David’s work was included on the recent DVD, New Contemporaries Moving Image 1968 - 2010, and as part of 'Figuring Landscapes', a touring exhibition of film and video that showed at major art venues throughout the UK and Australia. David curated the exhibition Modern Times at the Vegas Gallery and was also winner of the 2015 Creekside Open selected by Richard Deacon, the Open West 2011 and the Motorcade/FlashParade National 2012. David is a visiting lecturer at Wimbledon College of Art, part of University of the Arts.

Artist Statement:

Today, location is not so much defined by geography, but by our position within the complex web of processes that make up contemporary society. My work attempts to capture such a situation, caught in a perpetual state of transit where increasing complexity is often presented as the illusion of ‘progress’. As the global economy lurches towards an uncertain future, these complex connections that form the basis of day-to-day existence seem ever more evident and ever more precarious.

Technology and its impact on subjectivity lies at the heart of my practice. Consisting primarily of digital animation, my work and subject matter mirrors the structure of the underlying technology used in its creation and the repetitive processes that seem central to the infrastructure of contemporary society. The intensive labour that goes into my animations is perversely used to produce images of objects and experiences that we normally go out of our way to avoid seeing and experiencing. 

Working with digital animation inevitably raises questions about mediation in modern society.  Advances in imaging technology have the potential to stretch the limits of our senses and what we are capable of perceiving. However, much CGI and game technology instead appears directed towards anthropomorphism and a pre-canned form of wish fulfilment, the spectacular effects holding the spectator in thrall of the screen. In contrast, I’ve used animation to depict object and animal ontologies that are typically ignored by or unavailable to human beings. In many of my works we are witness to the normally unseen lives of objects, begging the question of what it means to be something. On top of this, of course, is the understanding that the completely illusory fabrication and artistic manipulation of these animated images renders these glimpses into unobservable worlds ironic impossibilities. Combined with the use of a restricted viewpoint, repetition and flat narrative, my work seems more likely to generate feelings of futility, frustration and perhaps humour which, in some cases, might give way to a deeper contemplation of the systems within which we live.  

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CV & Education

Qualifications and training

2008 - MA Fine Art, Goldsmiths, London

2006 - BA Fine Art (Sculpture), Wimbledon School of Art, Wimbledon 

Solo Shows

2013 - PC World, Motorcade/FlashParade, Bristol

2012 - Deepest Sympathy, Ikon, Birmingham

2012 - Deepest Sympathy, Ruskin Gallery, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge

2009 - Baggage Reclaim, Prussian Projekte, Nottingham

Group exhibitions/screenings

2016

135th Annual Exhibition, Royal Ulster Academy of Arts, Belfast, UK

'Move it: Parts and Labour', Oriel Davies Gallery, Newtown, Wales

'The Deaf Canvas Listens', Kensington and Chelsea College, London

The London Group Film Night, The Cello Factory, London

2015

NN Contemporary Open, NN Contemporary Art, Northampton, UK

Animate Open: Parts and Labour, Quad Gallery, Derby, UK

23:57, Fuse Art Space, Bradford, UK

The 82nd London Group Open, Cello Factory, London

neo:artprize2015, neo:gallery27, Bolton, UK

Future and Behind, CON-TEMPORARY 5 Calle de Mezo, Venice

Creekside Open 2015, APT Gallery, London (selected by Richard Deacon)

Spectrum: A Survey of Artists Moving Image, Breese Little Gallery, London

Limbo Associate Members Show 2015, Limbo Gallery, Margate (selected by Adam Chodzko)

KARST Artist Film Screenings 2015, Karst Gallery, Plymouth, UK

2014

Bittersweet Christmas, Trispace Gallery, The Biscuit Factory, London

OIKOS – Mostra d’Arte Ecointegralista, Villa Spinola Narisano, Genova, Italy

Uamo 2014 - 'Pretty Ugly', Einstein Kultur, Munich, Germany

6th Screengrab International Media Arts Award, James Cook University, Queensland, Australia

9th Szczecin European Film Festival, Szczecin, Poland

From David Bomberg to Paula Rego - The London Group in Southampton, Southampton City Art Gallery

McLaren 2014 Animation in Context: Screening and discussion, CCA, Glasgow

Oriel Davies Open 2014 (selected by Deirdre Figueiredo, Helen Legg, Anthony Shapland and Alex Boyd Jones)Oriel Davies Gallery, Newtown, Powys, Wales

Print Screen Festival, Mediateque Holon, Holon, Israel

Limbo Associate Members Show (selected by Bob and Roberta Smith and Sarah Martin), Limbo Gallery, Margate, UK

The London Group on London, The Cello Factory, London

Film Open, Sidney Cooper Gallery, Canterbury Christ Church University, Canterbury, UK
 

2013

8th International Streaming Festival, the Hague, Netherlands, and Zagreb, Croatia, and online

5th Base Film Night screening, 5th Base Gallery, London

+100 The London Group Today, The Cello Factory, London

COE 13, Claremorris, Ireland

Worcester Open 2013, The Old Library Space, Worcester, UK

Creekside Open 2013 (selected by Ceri Hand), APT Gallery, London 

Filmideo, Index Art Centre, Newark, USA 

Rogues' Galleries, Deva Shorts, Chester Performs, Chester, UK 

971 Horses and 4 Zebras, CAST, Tasmania, Australia

The Public, West Bromwich, UK

 2012

971 Horses and 4 Zebras, Wimbledon Space, London

971 Horses and 4 Zebras Screening, Tate Modern, London

Exeter Contemporary Open, Exeter Phoenix, Exeter 

Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival, Alchemy, Hawick, Scottish Borders

Appropriate Response, Vulpes Vulpes, London

On My Behalf: Self-portraits of the London Group, The London Group, Cumberland Hotel, London

Reel Two, Over+out, Lincoln

Switch 2012, www.s-w-i-t-c-h.org, Nenagh, Tipperary, Ireland

2011

4Seen, Garden Gallery, Montpelier, Cheltenham

6th International Streaming Festival, The Hague, Netherlands, and online

About the Human Condition, International Streaming Festival, The Hague, On line

Bus Stop Cinema, Elysium Gallery, Swansea 2011 - Digitalis, Animate Projects, On-line

Digitalis Screening, Animate Projects and BFI, NFT 3 Southbank, London

Raindance Film Festival, Apollo Cinema, London

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy, London 

Tenderpix, Rushes Soho Shorts Festival, Tenderpixel Gallery, London

Creekside Open 2011 (Dexter Dalwood), APT Gallery, London 

Creekside Open 2011 (Phyllida Barlow), APT Gallery, London 

2010

After the End, Elysium Gallery, Swansea, Wales

Curiouser and Curiouser, Old Vic Tunnels, London

ev+a 2010, ev+a, Limerick, Ireland

Exeter Contemporary Open 2010, Exeter Phoenix, Exeter

Holding Time, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan , London 2010 - Home Sweet Home, GlogauAIR, Berlin, Germany

RE: animate, Oriel Davies Gallery, Newtown, Powys, Wales

2010 - Cube Open 2010, Cube Gallery, Manchester 

2009

Art Projects, London Art Fair, London Business Design Centre, London 

Exploits in the Wireless City , Broadway Media Centre/Radiator, Nottingham

In to Land, Arlington Arts, Newbury, UK

Oxford Contemporary, OVADA, Oxford

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy, London 

Transition, Bargehouse (OXO building)/ Submit2Gravity, London

Celeste Prize 09 Finalist, Celeste Art Prize, Alte AEG Fabrik, Berlin

COE 2009, Claremorris Open Exhibition, Claremorris, Ireland

The Open West, Summerfield Gallery, Univeristy of Gloucestershire, Cheltenham

2008 

Figuring Landscapes, British Film and Video Collection, Touring show (ArtSway, FACT, Tate Modern ..)

ArtSway08, ArtSway, Sway, Hampshire

Cube Open 2008, Cube Gallery, Manchester

New Contemporaries 08, Bloomberg New Contemporaries, Liverpool and London

Monkeys with Car Keys, Bargate Gallery (Aspace), Southampton

Quantifying Play, The Jago Gallery, London 

Switch, www.switchspace.org, Nenagh, Tipperary

Visions in the Nunnery, Nunnery Gallery, Bow Arts Trust, London Degree shows

Goldsmiths MA Fine Art Show, Goldsmiths, London

2007

ArtSway07, ArtSway, Sway, Hampshire 

Crawford Open07, Crawford Gallery, Cork, Ireland 

Curated projects

2009 - Modern Times, Vegas Gallery, London

Competitions, prizes and awards 

2015 - Creekside Open Winner (selected by Richard Deacon), APT Gallery, London

2012 - Motorcade/FlashParade National Winner, Motorcade/FlashParade, Bristol 

2011 - Open West 2011 Winner, Summerfield Gallery, University of Gloucestershire, Cheltenham 

2009 - Creekside Open Winner (selected by Mark Wallinger), APT Gallery, London

2008 - Warden's Purchase Prize (MA Show), Goldsmiths College, London 

Educational experience 

2009 to date -  Visiting Lecturer, Wimbledon College of Art, University of the Arts, Wimbledon