David Edgar, portrait by Nathan Taylor
David Edgar, portrait by Nathan Taylor
David Edgar (born 1971, Sydney) is a visual artist, arts administrator and educator based in Hobart, Tasmania. His artworks are fundamentally about an interest in drawing, and in recent years he has worked exclusively with charcoal and pastel and mostly large in scale.

His drawing practice is grounded in many years of academic training experimenting with techniques of printmaking (layering, inversion and stretching tonal values - to name a few), experimental and life drawing and art and film theory. More recently his practice has explored visual effects of old faded and grainy black and white photography and techniques of film composition with particular interest given to the work of filmmakers Michelangelo Antonioni and Andrei Tarkovsky and their measured use of otherness, stillness, slowness and emptiness.

Crucial also to his work is phenomenology, which guides an exploration of geology, landscape and place, and psychological (existential) and metaphysical responses of his experiences in remote and isolated landscapes such as islands, mountains and deserts.

He says of the experiences: "they are intense and conjure a multifaceted antagonism of place, explored through the significance of my own selfhood against natural immensity and minutiae, atmospheres of isolation, imprisonment and entrapment, and expansiveness as well as deep and layered time and space".

These notions of place are exemplified through his use of obsessive scribbly drawing techniques that dominate and simultaneously articulate the pictorialism in his work. This engenders within him a deeper connection to the vast array of spaces found within place and the natural environment whilst continually providing the numerous challenges required for keeping his drawing practice energised.

He also says, "being isolated doesn't mean one is alone, it means being surrounded by an abundance of native flora and fauna, and bombarded by the full force of natureís powerful climatic forces, including, on some days, being consumed by thick fog or rain that throws a complete wet blanket on everything. Its a curious sensation, gone are the vast open expanses of sky and bright sunlit saturated colours of natureís native flowers, grasses, scrubs and open plains, replaced by claustrophobic shades of all consuming grey and different subtleties of stripped back tonal values. The mood of places change and I feel like an alien in my environment."

"Back in the studio I tend to contemplate on these contrasts. I sometimes imagine myself out at sea looking back in on myself, feeling the waves, fog, sea-cliffs and the vastness that imprisons and entraps me. Iím looking out as well as into the vastness of space, with the idea of an all-consuming nature swirling around inside me. I pick up a humble piece of charcoal, the dead ash of nature rejuvenated back to life again through the act of drawing the very thing that it comes from, and I feel myself re-awaken."

David is currently undertaking a PhD at the University of Tasmania on a Tasmanian Research Scholarship. He also has a Master of Fine Art by research from the University of Tasmania completed on an Australian Postgraduate Award scholarship and has exhibited extensively in Hobart, Launceston, Burnie, Evandale and St Helens in Tasmania as well as in Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and New South Wales and internationally in the US. He recently had work acquired by the Kedbumba Drawing Collection and won the Corangamarah Art Prize in Victoria. He has been selected as a finalist in the City of Hobart Art Prize, Marie Ellis OAM Drawing Prize, Heysen Prize for Interpretation of Place, Bay of Fires Art Prize, and Sunshine Coast Art Prize. He also received an ArtStart grant from the Australia Council for the Arts, and Arts Tasmania Crowbar and Assistance to Individuals funding and is the award-winning recipient of the 2013 Artist-in-Residence program from the Cradle Coast Campus of the University of Tasmania where he undertook a 4-week artist residency in the north west of Tasmania.

As an arts administrator, he has worked for over 12 years at Arts Tasmania, the Tasmanian State Governmentís agency responsible for policy and planning including the administration of funding to the arts and cultural heritage sector in Tasmania. His position as program officer has seen him administer a number of programs, including; artists residencies for local and international artists; develop policies and projects in the contemporary music and public art sectors, coordinate the publication of a series of monographs on prominent Tasmanian visual artists; as well as administer funding to artists and arts organisations.

He currently assists the Tasmanian Arts Advisory Board (TAAB) as a member of the Peer register assessing applications submitted to the Tasmanian State Government's annual arts investment programs through Arts Tasmania and for a brief period in 2010, provided assessment advice to the Tasmanian State Government through the TAABs Assistance to Individuals funding program. He has been invited to speak at many public events, judged a number of competitions, and has given advice about Tasmanian art to a number of Australian arts organisations, including the Federal Government of Australia and Asialink Arts. He has also undertaken numerous courses in project management, government policy, and philanthropy in the arts. In a previous life he once worked for a performing arts company and managed small, medium and large-scale contemporary music venues.

As an educator he has delivered drawing workshops and taught undergraduate students in drawing, life drawing, and observational drawing, as well as Art and Design Core Studies at the Tasmanian College of the Arts, University of Tasmania.

For nine years he has been judge on the MyState Student Film festival and was for a period of over ten years the specialist Arts judge for the Southern Cross Tasmanian Young Achiever of the Year Awards. He has completed a further eight years of fine art study at the National Art School in Sydney and the University of Tasmania, completing a Bachelor of Fine Art with 1st class Honours and being admitted to the Deans Roll of Excellence for outstanding academic results.