David Tibet's visionary drawings are those of the artist as scribe illuminating the contours and spaces of our shared spirit worlds. Tibet's work is profoundly magical in intention and it portrays and describes the dimensions of hallucinatory bodies and their worlds, where writing and image are both fluid and entwined. His drawings are child-like, playful and comical, as he continues his colouring in of the universes. In these spaces the hierarchy of human, animal and spirit forms is dissolved: masks dream of planets and grin at moons.
The imaginative world that Tibet gives form to is one in which writing and speech are divine, full of promises and threats. This investigation of word and form is rooted in his studies of the Coptic language, as well as in readings of ecstatic canonical and non-canonical Christian texts. However, these ideas are filtered through a uniquely English sensibility that places him in the tradition of such diverse figures as Enid Blyton, Aleister Crowley and Louis Wain. His idiosyncratic and passionate work shines an inmost light on the pleasures and horrors of the divine comedy that we all inhabit.
"The recent artwork in David Tibet’s Isis Gallery exhibition, like the music of latterday Current 93, offers fresh departures while remaining instantly recognisable and distinctive. Paintings like ‘Belt Surround Them And Glory’ are typical of Tibet’s
cosmology icons, in which god-like entities and planets float in a luxurious indigo expanse, smiling in sly recognition of their timeless coexistence. In amongst the celestial phantasmagoria, however, we find some landscapes that work their charm without mystical aid. ‘Prayer of Moon Alone As’ and ‘Prayer of Hallucinatory Mountain’ may have titles redolent of religious scholarship but they are serenely simple images that could easily delight onlookers who don’t care for ‘symbolic’ art. ‘When I Read Milton Heaven Against Hell’ has the semi-abstract decorativeness of a Klee while also evoking a row of volcanoes, each lit like a Halloween sparkler, as imagined by an innocent child during that magic phase of growing-up before artistic self-consciousness extinguishes natural talent."
Excerpt from 'The Darkly Splendid World: David Tibet's Visionary Art' (2008)
"Like light from a star showing us something long-since changed, or constantly changing, or maybe no longer there at all, David Tibet’s art from the 90s, his music as Current 93, is light from something unfathomable. Something way out there. Or: here is spiritual art of the most personal and necessary sort...The mingling of belief, fear, mystery, despair, humor and horror and hallucination, all bound up with love for God and audience, an openness that allows the poetry to pour through whether you get it or don’t. Because I’m sure that I don’t understand all of his lyrical themes – the hypnagogic theology, the cats (Coptic and otherwise) – but I can say that his work means more to me than any other single contemporary artist. What is it when a song like 'The Great, Bloody, Bruised and Silent Veil of The World’ can bring you to tears but whose perfect meaning eludes you, like something just there on the tip of your tongue? Songs as strange and personal as your own tongue."
Excerpt from 'The Sky is Always Falling or Some Thoughts Relevant to the Art of David Tibet on the Eve of the Greater Depression' (2008)
Birth Canal Blue, 2008
Pastel on paper, 297 x 210mm
© David Tibet
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