Having regard for Cézanne’s exemplary persistence David Ainley is in art for the long haul. Since his first acclaimed exhibition at Ikon, Birmingham, in 1966 he has exhibited regularly in many solo shows and numerous selected group exhibitions including the Jerwood Drawing Prize (twice), the INGDiscerning Eye and, in 2015, ‘Contemporary British Abstraction’.
An ongoing concern he has is for the exploration and distillation of content in painting by adopting procedural strategies that have strong metaphorical associations. The systems method he developed in the 1970s evolved from an engagement with the ‘Game of Life’ devised by the mathematician John Horton Conway. Since 1995 much of his work has been concerned with ideas and experiences of landscape and labour informed by research into mining and quarrying in relation to human endeavours that have shaped our surroundings but which are frequently overlooked in art.