David Begbie Biography...

Timeline and Biography
1955 Born Edinburgh, Scotland
1975 Winchester School of Art, England
1977-80 Gloucestershire College of Art and Design (BA Hons), Cheltenham, England
1980-82 The Slade School of Sculpture. Post Graduate (H.D.F.A.), University College London
1993 Associate of The Royal Society of British Sculptors (A.R.B.S.)


Born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1955, David Begbie's earliest memories and experiences as an artist were at the ripe age of 13. "1 had to get a letter of permission from my parents so that I could go to evening classes where I was confronted with a naked live model for the first time - there was a flirtatiousness that existed between myself and one of the younger models - these experiences made a very lasting impression, particularly from the point of view of subject matter."

Already talented, Begbie proceeded to complete seven years at art school where he emerged with the unique sculptural technique - he had discovered the ability to work with steelmesh. Since his graduation in 1982, he has worked almost exclusively with the human form, primarily sculpting in steelmesh but also producing monoprints, etchings, ink and charcoal drawings and mixedmedia work. But it is for his distinctive steelmesh bodies that Begbie is most renowned.

The preoccupation with the human form as his subject stems from an early age, the fascination for reproducing figurative bodies in steelmesh has developed extensively over the last twenty years. Looking back at his early work, there is an element of crudity as he fashioned the flat steel grid into three dimensional form. Recently Begbie has achieved the fine sculpting detail of musculature and human form which has already been compared to Michelangelo and Rodin.

The real thrill of Begbie's work is the experience of seeing it "in the flesh", the sculpted bodies are powerful, erotic, tactile and intimate. For the viewer the steelmesh material adds intrigue yet is somehow familiar; when you first experience Begbie's bodies you are curious to know how the perfection of form is achieved. On looking further you become familiar with the properties of the sculpture - the wiremesh creates a liveliness and sense of movement that is further enhanced by the use of shadowplay with strategic lighting.

Begbie creates images of people in good physical condition - his bodies are the modern archetype, and this is why they appeal. "Individually people like one sculpture and not another, because often they're looking at the shape of the body or the sex of the body - they're choosing characteristics they like."




Back to Begbie Gallery