David Manley lives and works in Sydney, Australia. Manley completed a BFA at the College of Fine Arts (COFA), University of New South Wales (UNSW), majoring in Photomedia and graduating with 1st Class Honours in 2011. He received special mention for his work in the Bowness Photography Prize (2011) and was also a recipient of the Giclee Airport North Gallery Award and Artist Profile Magazine Award (2010). Group exhibitions include the Monash Gallery of Art, Melbourne; Blender Gallery, Sydney; and Perspektiva at College of Fine Arts Space/ UNSW.
Manley was commissioned by the St Vincent's Hospital Sydney to develop a photographic archive of the old Caritas Psychiatric Hospital in Darlinghurst, prior to its decommission in 2010. The work is now part of the hospital's private collection. Drawn to the latent psychology of space, Manley's photographic and installation work dwells in the indifferent architectures and vacant spectacles of urban industry, seeking out the leftover signs of forgotten utopias.
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Manley's current art practice attempts to explore the imprint and residue of our individual and collective identity within architectural spaces and urban environments. The modern urban culture of 'tabula rasa' and the pursuit of ever increasing material wealth situates us within a milieu of false optimism and utopian ideals. These ideals are impossible to obtain yet this is the very reason we are attracted to them. Every action in obtaining these goals resides in failure, which in turn perpetuates our need to repeat the action to obtain the goal. This is a positive feedback mechanism that we are programmed to pursue through market economies and modern social expectations. We plan and build with a false optimism that our palace will be perfect; its spaces filled with a perfect life. Between walls the human condition is played out in all its complexity and fragility something anything but perfect. As an artist, Manley is interested in defining these aspects of the human experience through the buildings and spaces we create and imbue with the entropic traces of our lives.