Ian Davenport was born in Kent, England, in 1966. He graduated from Goldsmiths College of Art, London, in 1988 and as one of the generation of Young British Artists; he participated in the seminal 1988 exhibition Freeze. In 1991 he was shortlisted for the Turner Prize, for which he remains the youngest ever nominee, and in 1999 was a prize winner in the John Moores Exhibition, Liverpool. Two years after graduating Davenport had his first solo show at Waddington Galleries, London, in 1990. Ian Davenport is well known for his abstract paintings, which explore process and materiality. In recent years his work has consisted of carefully poured lines of acrylic paint down a surface, which puddle and pool at the bottom. This technique allows him to explore complex arrangements of line and colour. Over the past ten years he has turned his attention to screenprinting and etching, building up an impressive body of graphic work.
Davenport has exhibited extensively across the world, including major institutional shows at Dundee Contemporary Arts (1999); Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (2004); Tate Liverpool (2000) and Dallas Contemporary, Texas (2018). He has completed major commissions including Poured Lines: Southwark Street, London (2006), a 48 metre wide painting on a bridge which is one of the largest permanent public artworks in the UK. At the 2017 Venice Biennale he presented an installation of over 1,000 stripes, a commission by Swatch, together with a Swatch Art special watch. In 2016 he hand-painted a series of porcelain plates in collaboration with Meissen, commissioned by South London Gallery, designed a special edition bag for Christian Dior's Lady Art project. In 2010 he completed a residency programme at The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation in Connecticut, USA.
His work is held in important museum collections including, Arts Council of Great Britain; Tate, London; Centre Pompidou, Paris; National Museum Wales, Cardiff; Von der Heydt Museum, Wuppertal; Museum of Modern Art, La Spezia; Borusan Art Gallery, Istanbul; Museum of Modern Art, New York and Dallas Museum of Art, Texas. The first monograph of his work was published by Thames & Hudson in 2014.