Art: David Griggs
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Art: David Griggs

Lives: Woolloomooloo, Sydney; Manila, The Philippines. Age: 43. Represented by: Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney; Station Gallery, Melbourne.

His thing: Brash, grotesque paintings in brilliant colour, with imagery from religion and popular culture.

Potato Gurl (2012) by David Griggs, oil on canvas, 47 x 37cm; photograph by Jessica Maurer, courtesy of the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery.

Potato Gurl (2012) by David Griggs, oil on canvas, 47 x 37cm; photograph by Jessica Maurer, courtesy of the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery.Credit:David Griggs

Our take: David Griggs was born in Sydney but has spent many years living in Manila, a city he finds scary and beautiful. Today, he has a studio in both cities. A touring exhibition, David Griggs: Between Nature and Sin is currently on at Lismore Regional Gallery. In November, new solo work was displayed in Heroes at Sydney's Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery.

Griggs tends to dwell on the "dark side" of human experience, inspired by the savage, gothic imagery of painting in the Philippines, and his own bouts of depression. As well as being a prolific painter, Griggs works with photography and installation. In the Lismore show he is also screening his first feature-length film, Cowboy Country.

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In describing his work, Griggs talks about "colour, paint, energy and love. Dark necessities inverted to create good vibes only". With works such as The Bleeding Hearts Club #2, a naturalistic image is overlaid with crude emblems and symbols. Colours and motifs seem to clash dramatically on his canvases. With paintings such as 2009's Zombie Kiss, it looks as if someone has come along and defaced the picture before the show opened, but the artist is his own best vandal.

Can I afford it?

Griggs's work is not for everyone. Extreme, anarchistic and confronting, it's a far cry from what most private collectors like to hang on their walls. Nevertheless, Griggs has his admirers, and has been well supported by the art institutions. He has been a finalist in the Archibald Prize on seven occasions.

The largest and most expensive work in his show at Roslyn Oxley9, Old white trash painter, (168cm x 460cm) was priced at $38,000. The cheapest work was the small oil painting, Potato Gurl (47cm x 37cm), at a mere $2200. If you have the nerve for this work, these prices should be no deterrent.

Where can I have a squiz?

David Griggs: Between Nature and Sin, Lismore Regional Gallery until February 24. Griffith Regional Art Gallery, March 22-April 21.

To read more from Good Weekend magazine, visit our page at The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and Brisbane Times.

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