david002-captionDavid Middlebrook was born in 1967 in Gloucester, New South Wales. In 1982 he moved to Sydney and studied for two years with Billy Wallace, then in 1984 studied with Desiderius Orban, painting still-life and landscapes with a muted tonal European palette while on a Society of the Arts scholarship to Trinity Grammar School.

In 1987 David moved to Newcastle and commenced a Bachelor of Arts, Visual Arts degree at the University of Newcastle. The majority of works from this period are large colour field paintings about minimalist landscapes, three major paintings from this period are in the collection of the Newcastle Conservatorium of Music.

In 1991 David worked part-time at the Newcastle Region Art Gallery three days a week, and painting the other four, predominantly working on atmospheric “in the beginning” landscapes. The first of seven solo exhibitions at von Bertouch Galleries was held in this year. David was also invited to exhibit at Newcastle Region Art Gallery, sharing the upstairs gallery Henry Moore.

David’s first Central Australian trip was in 1994, traveling to the Flinders Ranges and opal fields of South Australia, painting and drawing. This trip changes his palette into raw, pure colour including brilliant French ultramarine blue skies. A review of his first exhibition at Holdsworth Galleries, Sydney, states

“no-one moves in the desert, stretches backed by brownish mountain ranges…unless someone employed by the painter erects that ubiquitous black pole that gives scale, focus and direction to several paintings. The mountains, recalling Sidney Nolan’s desert scenes, are fluid with contours from a lively brush; they often have an un-Nolanesque vigour. Despite the arresting poles these are rapid, sparkling vignettes as authentic as they are painterly, drenched in embracing light.”

Elwyn Lynn 3 September 1994.

In 1995 David ceased part-time work to paint full time, doing numerous trips through outback New South Wales. He was invited by Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery to be artist in residence for a week, painting five large scale canvases (6 x 8 feet each) during that time. He was also regularly exhibiting at Delmar Gallery; Sydney, Solander Gallery; Canberra and through The Wall Street Exchange, Melbourne.

David traveled to Greece in 1998, drawing landscape, archeological ruins and visiting museums, both on the mainland and on Crete. This trip in winter changes the colour of Middlebrook’s palette to cold and grey. He has his first solo exhibition of paintings in Brisbane at Jan Murphy Gallery.

In 1999 he travels to Tibooburra and North-Western New South Wales, drawing and camping. Maitland City Art Gallery holds a ten-year survey exhibition – “David Middlebrook, a painter”. He is now exhibiting regularly in Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra, Newcastle and the Gold Coast.

In 2002 David travels through the Northern Territory and Western Australia on the Canning Stock Route, camping for a period of six weeks. Holds his first exhibition at Stella Downer Fine Art, Sydney. He wins the Tattersall’s Bendigo Bank Art Prize, Brisbane, the largest landscape painting prize in Australia at that Time.

2003 sees the continuation of earlier exploration of the horizon, mainly through paintings of Salt Pans, he still travels to Central Australia each year drawing and collecting images. David completed a Doctorate of Philosophy in 2006. A working career obsessed with deserts culminated in March 2007 with a drawing trip to the largest desert on earth, the Antarctic. This was followed by a major exhibition in Brisbane at Gallery G.

From early 2008 David has been traveling fortnightly to Sydney to draw with Charles Blackman, an extension of a professional relationship and friendship he has enjoyed for more than ten years. David spends the remainder of his time painting in his Newcastle studio.

During 2008 David starts exhibiting with Rex-Livingston Art Dealer. In August of the same year he journeyed to Central Australia again to draw and paint. This time he traveled to Coopers Creek, specifically Dig Tree, producing a body of work that continues his exploration of artist as explorer and explorer as artist.

In 2009 David ceases working with Charles Blackman to take up lecturing at the University of Newcastle and prepare for exhibition with Rex-Livingston Art Dealer. In November and December he travels through Jordan visiting the Dead Sea, Bethany on Jordan, Jerash, Kerak, Petra, Wadi Rum and Amman before moving on to Italy spending time in Florence, Venice and Rome.

2010 saw David invited to be on the judging panel of the Mount Eyre Vineyard Art Prize, another exhibition with Rex-Livingston Art Dealer and a move with his partner to live in the Blue Mountains, NSW. David continued to exhibit with Rex-Livingston Art Dealer during 2011 and would commute to Newcastle to continue as a lecturer at the University of Newcastle.

In 2013 David had his work accepted in to the prestigious Paddington Art Prize. It was at this time he met Simon Chan of Art Atrium who is his current representative.

2014 was a busy year with work exhibited at Art Atrium in Sydney, the Packsaddle exhibition at the New England Regional Art Gallery and Lost Bear Gallery in Katoomba.

The calendar for 2015 had three major solo exhibitions and numerous group exhibitions so David stopped lecturing at the University of Newcastle to concentrate on his own work. There were solo exhibitions at The Blue Mountains City Art Gallery and Cultural Centre, Art Atrium in Sydney and Lost Bear Gallery in Katoomba. He was also selected, along with 10 other contemporary artists, to represent Australia in ‘Art from Australia’ exhibition in the Gail Museum, Seoul, South Korea. He had work in group shows at the Korean Cultural Centre in Sydney, the Sydney International Contemporary Art Fair, the 2015 Packsaddle exhibition at the New England Regional Art Gallery and a group show at the University of Newcastle, along with other group exhibitions.

He is currently preparing on a body of work for Art Atrium, to be exhibited at Melbourne Art Fair 2016.


Broken Hill City Art Gallery; Newcastle Region Art Gallery; Maitland City Art Gallery; Muswellbrook City Art Gallery; Moree Plains Gallery; Forster/Tuncurry Regional Council; University of Newcastle, School of Fine Art; News Corporation, Sydney; William Bowmore Collection; Trinity Grammar School, Summer Hill; John Hunter Hospital, Newcastle; Newcastle Permanent Building Society; Newcastle Conservatorium of Music, University of Newcastle; Museum of the Senses, Sendai Japan; Crisp and Associates, Sydney; Price Waterhouse Coopers, Canberra.