Relax, the universe is expanding – David Shillinglaw

Portrait of artist Davis Shillinglaw painting a canvas in his studio in margate

We are excited to host the launch of David Shillinglaw‘s new book “Relax, the universe is expanding”, and an exhibition of new works to accompany it.

David Shillinglaw explores the conflicted, messy human condition: a relentless need for control within a disordered world. His vibrant, vital paintings present a tumultuous system in which natural forms, freely connected words and human features both burst from and are contained within grids, boxes and organised lines.

This book—the most expansive the British artist has published to date—provides an overview of his joyful, exploratory practice. Shillinglaw’s paintings, sketches, and sculptures are brought together with texts that have inspired him, to offer insights into how he navigates his own chaos and tries to make sense of life on Earth.


Private View: 2nd September | 12pm – 8pm

Exhibition Runs: 3rd September – 5th September

Address: 25 Henrietta Street, London, WC2E 8NA

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“The universe is expanding, apparently. To be honest, I don’t fully understand what that means. It creates more questions for me than answers. Expanding into what? I get lost thinking about it. All my work is about describing space: the internal space of my mind; the organs and systems under my skin; the physical spaces I inhabit, from rooms, to gardens and trains. This stretches out to the internet or cyber space, the space of a city, a country or continent—the planet as a whole. Perhaps the hardest to comprehend is ‘outer space’. I find it almost impossible to imagine its dark vastness. I find something compelling about trying to explore these ideas through drawing, painting and collage. Like a caveman scratching a constellation on a muddy wall, I construct maps to navigate impossible terrains.

I am lost somewhere between all of these spaces, never quite arriving in one or able to disconnect from another, and that’s ok with me. We all inhabit these places simultaneously. The collisions and overlapping of spaces feed and inform my work: the micro and macro, the physical and psychological, the real and imagined. I am in awe, fuelled by forces of nature, natural phenomena, emergence and entropy, volcanos and tornados, sunlight and water, blood cells and fungus. The universal funk. The cosmic ooze. When it feels daunting or overwhelming, I just tell myself: “Relax. The universe is expanding.”

David Shillinglaw

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The front cover of Navigating The Art World art business book by Delphian Gallery
The front cover of Navigating The Art World art business book by Delphian Gallery