“David Bethell is the Staffordshire Seamus Heaney. He’s a contemporary Heath Robinson. He’s variously an explorer, a labourer, an inventor, a fell runner and a documenter of how we live and work on the land, then and now. David Bethell is an artist and curator.
Each work is entirely site-specific. Outcomes range from drawing and durational performance to installation and writing. It’s personal and typically British work, pseudo-mechanical and historically influenced; about class and work and loss and development and failure. It’s rich and heartfelt and timely. It’s funny and poignant and occasionally ridiculous.
Machines are at the centre of David’s practice. They are painstakingly knocked together, Wall.E-like constructions that do not endure in the way that their Victorian predecessors have. The Disney reference is not used flippantly – these machines are gentle, heartfelt, innately humorous and poignant entities in their own right.”
Extract from essay by Jane Morrow, Exhibitions Curator at Wolverhampton Art Gallery