'Blind', David Austen

Painting of the word blind in black capital letters on a white background

Oil on flax canvas, 168 x 152.5 cm

‘BLINDS black on white street sign above Pete the Pleaters on Great Eastern Street’

‘Do you think, Mr. Motes, that when you’re dead, you’re blind?’

‘I hope so'


‘If there’s no bottom in your eyes, they hold more’

‘He was plainly blind for he tapped before him with a stick, and wore a great green shade over his eyes and nose, and he was hunched, as if with age or weakness, and wore a huge old tattered sea-cloth with a hood, which made him appear positively deformed’

‘She entered with the fire that burns me still’

‘I’d hammer him and splash his brains all over the floor of the cave, and my heart would find some relief from the suffering which that nothing, that Nobody, has caused me!’

There is a symbiotic relationship between colour, image and text in my paintings – the connection between colour and form being driven by a poetic impulse, a recognition of the inspirational source filtered through the language of the medium. Wherever the image leads, the basic material facts of colour and canvas remain essential.


David Austen was born in Harlow in 1960. He studied at Maidstone College of Art 1978-81 and the Royal College of Art 1982-85. His first group show 1985 and first solo show 1986 were at Anthony Reynolds Gallery London, with whom he has had seven subsequent solo shows, most recently in 2001 and 2004. He was included in John Moores 21 1999 since when his major exhibitions have included Objects and Images from the Edge of the World Christchurch Mansion Ipswich 2003 (one-man) and Exodus: Between Promise and Fulfilment Kettle’s Yard Cambridge 2003 (which he also curated).