Born in Leeds in 1979, David Rusbatch’s work draws on universal themes, filtered through a contemporary sensibility.
In 2008, Rusbatch became one of the youngest exhibitors at the National Design Museum. This was followed shortly after by his work being shown in the 2009 Venice Biennale, which in turn garnered critical and commercial acclaim.
The artist’s 2014 solo exhibition at RedHouse Originals Lost & Found was a celebration of UK club culture and led to plaudits from Boy George, Norman Cook (Fatboy Slim) and Maxi Jazz (Faithless). It introduced his work to a new audience and asserted his place as one of the UK’s most exciting emerging artists.
“Experimental, engaging, playful and unafraid of the dark. Beautiful.”
Rusbatch’s recent paintings are created using neons and vibrant hues, contrasted against the stark emptiness of jet black space. Multiple layers of oil paint, fluorescent light gels, collage and heavy gloss varnishes convene on cavernous obsidian-like backgrounds, with overlapping viewpoints and planes, which hints at an almost cubist approach.
With his 2016 collection I Used To Sleep At Night the artist introduced his ‘neo-landscape’ concept; an updated approach to traditional landscape painting, inspired by regular visits to the Yorkshire Dales and surrounding areas. Rusbatch: “I spent a lot of time in Malham so several paintings were directly influenced by days and nights spent up there… It was an escape, but not without an edge. When you are in the woods and dusk falls it transforms the landscape and the solace is soon replaced by fear and utter isolation…”
The ‘Flaunt Every Kiss’ exhibition launches at RedHouse in 2018, focusing on “love and relationships in the 21st century” and are the artist’s most personal paintings to date. The collection sees Rusbatch look within to tackle an intoxicating cocktail of emotions. He explores with trepidation the world of online dating and the quest for fulfilment with its varying degrees of success. With the eponymous Flaunt Every Kiss he questions the notion of “domestic bliss in a world of selfie sticks”, challenging the concept of “public displays of affection” and tearing down pre-conceived ideas of contentment. His text-painting The Bestest Things In Life provides a moment of respite, adopting a light-hearted view in describing how real happiness comes from “popping bubble wrap”, “the smell of crayons” and “tripping and realising no-one saw you”.
The artist’s reputation continues to grow and his work is found in numerous international private collections.
Rusbatch lives and works in Leeds, Yorkshire.
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Interview: Culture Vulture (2018)
David Rusbatch talks about the inspiration behind Flaunt Every Kiss