The materials of which these drawings are made were mined. Almost all manufactured objects involve materials that can be traced to sources in the earth but the human labour involved is often disregarded. This concern, informed initially by knowledge of the repetitive pickwork of early lead miners in the White Peak of Derbyshire who made progress in hard rock at a rate of about a handspan-a-day, is addressed in David Ainley’s distilled images through processes arising from a critical engagement with aspects of minimal and conceptual art analogous to extractive industry. Abstraction is infused with metaphorical content. Stone quarrying and prospecting for and winning ores such as lead, tin, copper, iron, silver and gold as well as the ubiquitous demand for the difficult-to-mine rare earths used in consumer electronics may be brought to mind.
DAVID AINLEY studied fine art and ceramics at Derby College of Art and art education at Manchester College of Art/University of Manchester. Recent selected group exhibitions include: Contemporary Masters from Britain - works selected from the Priseman Seabrook Collection of 21st Century British Painting, the Yantai Art Museum, Yantai, China, touring to Jiangsu Arts and Crafts Museum and the Jiangsu Art Museum in Nanjing, then Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts Museum (2017); Contemporary British Abstraction, SE9 Container Gallery, London (2015); ING Discerning Eye, Mall Galleries, London (2012). Solo exhibitions include: Encounters, Southwell Minster, Nottinghamshire (2012), Lead, Tin, Land, Attenborough Arts Centre, University of Leicester (2007); David Ainley - Recent Paintings, IKON Gallery, Birmingham (1966). Shortlisted for The Jerwood Drawing Prize (2000, 2005, 2017). First prizewinner in the Derby City Open (2004). He is a member of Contemporary British Painting and lives and works in Derbyshire, near Wirksworth, a place quarried for limestone and mined for lead. He has extensive experience of teaching fine art and art education in schools and universities, most recently the University of Nottingham. Entry in: Buckman, D (1998 & 2006) Artists in Britain since 1945 (Volume 1) (Art Dictionaries Ltd., Bristol).