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David Downes’ first major solo show at new Hampstead gallery

Work by David Downes

Exhibition preview

HAMPSTEAD’S new gallery, Go Figurative, is presenting David Downes’ first major solo show, David Downes: The Draw of Hampstead. Featuring more than 20 new paintings, it will be on display from June 5 to July 2, 2014.

The artist David Downes, best known for large scale aerial cityscapes such as the Diamond Jubilee Pageant commissioned by The Savoy, was diagnosed with high functioning autism at the age of 32. Now in his 40s, he is moving into a new phase of his career with intimate portraits of Hampstead and North London.

The Draw of Hampstead focuses on how Downes’ art has enabled him to express his emotions through painting, particularly around the beauty of Hampstead, Kenwood and Highgate.

Autism affects the way in which those with the condition are able to relate to others, but through his painting, Downes communicates the widest possible range of emotions, and has established himself as a well respected career artist, likened to Paul Nash, and with a loyal following of collectors of his of his originals and prints.

Dubbed a child prodigy due to his artistic talent, yet unable to talk until the age of four, Downes’ style has evolved from a rigid illustrative discipline, as per his training at The Royal College of Art, into softer, more fluid painterly brush strokes. As a child, Downes would sit for hours and look at the sky, and to this day, clouds and vapor trails are a key feature in his work.

Moreover, the extreme level of detail and depth of emotion make his current work more akin to Turner, Ford Maddox Brown and Constable and like many of London’s now legendary artists and poets, he has been drawn to the idyllic Hampstead Village and Heath.

Work by David Downes

Downes paints partly from his imagination, often depicting an aerial perspective he has not actually seen. He has for his entire life felt different and he often appears in his paintings dressed in a stripy t-shirt.

Appointed as Vice President of the National Autistic Society in 2012, Downes speaks publicly about living with autism and actively raises money for the charity.

The National Autistic Society is the UK’s leading charity for people affected by autism, which affects more than 1 in 100 adults.

Events during The Draw of Hampstead

June 5 – Private View from 6.30 – 9.30pm.

June 26 – National Autistic Society Charity Event. A portion of all proceeds from sales that night will be donated to the charity.

June 12 to June 15 – Affordable Art Fair, Hampstead. A limited number of Downes’ paintings will be available at Go Figurative’s stand at The Affordable Art Fair.

The Go Figurative Gallery is situated at 92 Heath Street, between Hampstead Station and Hampstead Heath.

Opening Hours: Monday to Friday, 10am – 6pm; Saturday and Sunday, 11am – 4pm.

Tel: +44 (0)20 7794 3317


Go Figurative Gallery, 92 Heath Street, Hampstead, London, NW3 1DP