'From a painter’s perspective, the juxtaposition of the Cornish Landscape is so enticing. It feels primal and raw and physical, but also beautiful and serene. The landscape contains dark black rocks, brutal granite, and also beautiful milky seas, the wildflowers on the cliff. It is this contrast that excites me.’
David Mankin’s work is about landscape, yet there is no attempt to mimic a “view’. Instead, he conjures the feeling of being in the natural world. His paintings express a love of the landscape surrounding his Cornish home and studio and a sense of freedom in the wild open spaces - the raw physical elements, big skies, and surging seas. His process begins with immersing himself in the landscape: scouring the cliffs, beaches, and coastal paths for visual and spatial relationships. He will document a correspondence of colours, the texture of a stone, the shape of a rock, either in close-cropped photographs, or through loose sketches.
These disparate encounters and experiences of the Cornish landscape are strung together visually to create a sense of place. David’s paintings rove over different sightlines and perspectives, bringing us the big and the small, the rough and the smooth, the fluid and the geological.
Like the landscape, his work is melancholy and joyful, powerful and calm, in equal measure. This is achieved through an initial unleashing of explosive, gestural marks on the canvas. He will then temper this energy through periods of continuous refinement, layering, and analytical thinking, measuredly responding to how the painting develops. This tension between dynamic and calm, the big and the small is expertly balanced. The way David plays with addition and excavation, wiping back and scratching through areas of wet paint, means that we are given glimpses of the explosive beginnings of each painting.
David Mankin exhibits his work in galleries throughout the UK and his paintings are held in numerous private and public collections. He was commissioned by English Heritage to create a painting in response to Tintagel Castle for their 2019/20 Membership handbook. An award-winning film documented the process of creating ‘Passage’. A book about his paintings and process ‘David Mankin-Remembering in Paint,’ written by Kate Reeve-Edwards, was published this year by arts publisher Sansom. David Mankin’s unique perspective on the Cornish landscape has enabled him to gain a growing international following and be regarded as one of the most exciting abstract expressionist artists to emerge in recent years.