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Dan Withey

A black and white photo of a man with short wavy and a moustache and beard smiling with a closed mouth directly at the camera. He is wearing a scarf and jacket.

About the artist

Dan Withey lives in Tarntanyangga-Adelaide.

Born in Birmingham, England, Withey migrated to South Australia in 2004 as a teenager. Following completing his degree in illustration Withey has worked as an artist. He is represented by Penny Contemporary, Tasmania.

Withey’s art practice draws on graphic art, storytelling, illustration, and patterning to explore thresholds: between the imagination and ‘reality’, representation and decoration, inner worlds, and the public subject. Primarily working in acrylic paint, along with ink and pencil, Withey creates vivid, playful and surreal compositions that recall the absurdity of dreamscapes and traverse the domestic to the fantastic.

Veering between abstraction and figuration – sometimes in a single work – Withey’s paintings adopt a humorous, even irreverent attitude. The strangeness encapsulated in Withey’s paintings is the experience of contemporary life, existential angst, and its effect on the human subject.

Favouring clean lines, fine detail and flat colours, Withey builds complex compositions that explore spatial rather than pictorial or geometric techniques of representation.

Central to Withey’s formal approach is the juxtaposition of scale, strong colours, and detailed patterning. Recurrent tropes include birds, cats, robots, rainbows, nature, architecture and simplified human forms and emblems of renewal.