DAVID STOREY - “MEMORY MAN”
Oil painter David Storey brings forgotten memories back to life and makes them universal.
He scours garage sales and flea markets for old family photo albums and uses the selected images—often individuals or family groups awkwardly posing for a loved one's vacation photo—as a point of reference. start of its process. He works these images into miniature portraits, using egg tempera and oil on wood, trying to “unlock the poetry from within.”
These portraits can sit on the shelves of his studio for years: those that resonate most with him are transformed into gallery-sized oil paintings. He uses almost no brush, shaping his works with his fingers, rags and palette knives. His characters rarely have discernible traits – he deliberately leaves out details in order to capture the incomplete nature of memory.
In doing so, he creates a strange universality: you look at the figure(s) and say to yourself, "hey, that could be my grandfather", or "that reminds me of my brother and sister, in the 70s", or even “hey, it’s not me? The pieces are imbued with a sweet, timeless melancholy.
Storey has had an interesting career. After studying fine arts at Middlesex University, in the late 1970s he became artistic director of Chrysalis Records and designer for 2-Tone Records, the record label of The Specials and Madness. He taught at St Martins College and became a full-time oil painter 25 years ago, working from his studio in Hove. In 2012 he was shortlisted for the Threadneedle Prize.