David was born in Methil, Fife to a Polish father and a Scottish mother. He graduated from Duncan of Jordanstone in 1979 with a highly commended post diploma and in the previous two years was awarded with both minor and major Scottish Education Awards. This was followed by three years at the Royal College of Art, completing his masters degree in 1982.
Between graduation in June and the December of 1982, David showed at the Lisson Gallery in London, the New 57 Gallery in Edinburgh and Gallerie l’Vinster in Rotterdam; certainly an indication of what was to follow. Twenty years later his practice is certainly international and with each succeeding year is a long list of group and solo exhibitions with major commissions. In 1989, for example, there are listed 12 exhibitions or installations in 10 different cities from San Francisco to Madrid, Milton Keynes to Melbourne. David is a pioneer in Public Art and site specific commissions. His work is characterised by the use of multiple components most famously tyres and magazines, but which also includes bottles, coat hangers, matches, metallic sections, Barbie dolls, soft toys and many items of kitsch.
Another highly identifiable permanent piece is ‘Big Heids’, 1998, three separate heads made from assortment of metal sections, which are mounted on full-size maritime containers. All three heads are painted bright red. You pass these on the M8 just outside Glasgow. As a complete contrast to the site-specific work are the delightful series of human heads. These are made from unstruck matched glued together so that only the coloured heads show on the surface.
A second strand to Mach’s work are his collage pieces. Partly as a result of having access to thousands of reproduced images in the magazines left over from many of his installations, Mach began to experiment with producing collages. So far, this has culminated in National Portrait, a collage for the Millennium Dome that featured many images of British people at work and at play. The exhibition, “Precious Light: a celebration of the King James Bible 1611-2011” was over three years in the making and explored the themes and legacy of the King James Bible in the year of its 400th anniversary. The artist’s largest solo shows to date, it featured over seventy of Mach’s trademark collages and large-scale sculptures. In 1988 Mach was nominated for the Turner Prize at the Tate Gallery, London, and in 1992 he won the Lord Provost’s Prize in Glasgow. He was elected Royal Academician in 1998 and lives and works in London.