The Mall Gallery
10am to 5pm (closes at 1pm on final day)
10 September 2019 to 15 September 2019
|All By Himself monograph cover|
I was so looking forward to seeing more of that ‘unknown artist' who regularly exhibits at the Royal Academy Summer school and has two portraits in the National Portrait Gallery: the celebrated Liverpool comedian, Sir Ken Dodd, (2005) and the Nobel prize winning developmental biologist, Sir Martin John Evans (2011) , along with a host of other celebrated sitters his work, now selling for many tens of thousands.
It was that £100,000 piece that stood out for me, it was captivating, ticking all the boxes the Show me the Monet hanging committee were looking for in a work namely ‘originality, technique and emotional impact’ for me David’s work had it all and more.
David’s work is special, particularly his portraits, he has a way with the human face not only extracting the personality but the emotions of the sitter. He looks into their soul quite, unlike any other painter I know, he has the power of Velasquez, the stillness of Vermeer and the sympathy of Leonardo. He has reinvented portraiture for me.
|Summer '71 oil on board 95 x 61.5 cm|
|Doubt oil on linen 168 x 168 cm|
There were many delights on show at All By Myself from its very entrance with Summer 71 a very early three quarter length self-portrait in which a confident, 17 year old David looks out at the world, in an open neck white shirt with dark trousers, his righthand in his trouser pocket and left arm loosely at his side the epitomy of youthful self-assurance tinged with innocence A telling contrast to the much later and larger Doubt (1995) self-portrait, completed when David would have been 41. Twenty-seven years after Summer 71 David is not looking out, he is look down, we are below looking up at him, that aura of youthful confidence has given way to a tired introspection that comes with age, perhaps hinted at in the works title.
|Bandwagon To Oblivion oil on linen 117 x 213.5 cm|
Two works really demonstrated this for me: How We All Are (2013) and Bandwagon to Oblivion (1992). Here we have Norman Rockwell graphic realism commenting on America life with its vivid colours and compositions colliding with the densely populated human dramas found in the works of Pieter Bruegel the Elder or Hieronymus Bosch. Stunning!
|Here We All Are [£59,000.00] (2013) oil on linen 200 x 225 cm|
The standout work in the Exhbition was the work that which introduced me to David – All By Myself (1998) – still with its £100,000 price tag. Described in the exhibition's packed monograph as
a therapeutic and cathartic picture of a singular subject, himself, but in a plethora of styles by a multiplicity of celebrated artists.
|All By Myself [£100,000] (1995) oil on linen 121 x 121|
I thoroughly enjoyed David Cobley's All By Himself this free exhibition , I recommend it unreservedly, but hurry it closes 15th Sept at 1pm!