David Abse was born in London in December 1958 and went to Art School in Wolverhampton in the 1980s. Despite these disadvantages, between then and now he has done a diverse range of things to make a living and to make a mark on the world. This includes painting, drawing and printmaking, and exhibiting all over the world. Currently David lives in Les Matelles in the south of France with his wife daughter, 2 cats and a dog. His son lives in London and has got a proper job.
Despite being born in England, David never has felt that this defines his identity. His father (Dannie Abse) brainwashed him to support Cardiff City FC, and told his son that he was half Welsh, and half Jewish, and half English. David realised early on his father's mathematical shortcomings and was glad that his father had chosen a career as a poet rather than as a quantum physicist. David's mother (Joan Abse) was from Lancashire (St Helens) and her parents were English and Scottish. She moved to London as a young woman where she met David's dad, Dannie. After bringing up three kids, she became a renowned art historian. David's maternal grandfather (Jack Mercer) had a profound effect on David's life: He worked as a shop steward for years in the Pilkingtons' glassworks in St Helens, but after he retired he went to art school every day for 30 years. He died over 20 years ago, aged 99, still a communist, determined not to get a telegram from the queen.
Despite David's father's determination that David should get a "proper job", David went to Art school in Wolverhampton, and worked for many years in the voluntary sector in the UK - including several years as a union representative, and more years as CEO of Islington Voluntary Actiion Council (IVAC). After leaving IVAC in 2005 David set up a freelance consultancy business, Toosh, that would still be thriving if not for the bizarre decision of the UK populace to put the Tories in charge of ruining the country. Throughout these years David continued drawing and painting part time.
Five years ago David moved to France, and returned to painting, drawing and printmaking full time. Whilst still fitting in some other work to pay the rent.
David now lives with his family in a small house in the beautiful medieval village of Les Matelles in the Hérault. He still thinks of himself as half English, half Welsh, half Jewish and as a Londoner too. It is no surprise then that many of David's paintings focus on issues of identity. Amazingly, David's son Marley is a maths whizz.
1983: Tarmac Prize – Wolverhampton UK
1984: Ferens Art Gallery – Open - Hull UK
1984: Bradford Print Biennale - UK
1985: Kanagawa Print – Japan
1985: Leigh Gallery, Kings Cross, London (solo show)
1986: Open Print Exhibition, Krakow, Poland
2010: New Paintings: Matelles-Art Gallery, France
2011: March: Liquid Oxygen – Group Show, Icosahedron Gallery, New York, USA
2011: April: Le Printemps en Folie Le Soleil Bleu Galerie, Lodève, France
2011: May: Animals Art Nomade, Gignac, France
2011: May 21: Pic Saint Loup “Festa Trail”, St Mathieu, France
2011: June: Boom The Brick Lane Gallery, London, UK
2011: June/July: Animaux, Matelles-Art Gallery, France
2011: October: Parallax Art Fair, London, UK
2012: June: "Fleuers". Les Matelles, France
Francis Kyle Gallery, London (1984-1990)
June/July 2011 edition of L’Artiste.