Reflector

The Shape of Words Invitation

The Shape of Words  brings together three artists working with text in a variety of ways. Twenty five years ago we met as students at the QUT Painting and Sculpture studios.  We were looking to refresh our ideas in a profession that’s always been isolating in its practice. It’ll be interesting to see just where we are in relation to each other when the work is hung, I’m sure there’ll be many levels of interaction in the show.

The work I’m presenting under the title Reflector: painting out of fashion, stems from fashion photographs and their presentation of the human figure as a formal and stylistic vehicle for clothing. Late last year I was thumbing through a Myer catalogue of fashion plates presenting a diverse quotation of styles as models for identification and consumption. I name them roughly as Tennesee Williams’ Deep South , John Steinbeck’s depression era , Artemesia Gentileschi’s Judith and Holofernes, Lara Croft Tomb Raider etc.  The craft in these fashion plates  combines copy-writing, photography and graphic layout, the  light and severe cropping are concise,often collaged into tableaux that build a relationship between image and consumer.  My last show  brought decorative surfaces as layered systems for scattering the figure, so I guess I now had an eye for the layering of meaning in these images.

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 The figures in these highly crafted photographs are held by the frame, in the better ones they’re also holding positions, tensed by spaces between figure and frame. I added lines to the figures to reinforce what I saw taking place in the compositions, as I originally drew them into the photographs I noticed  the lines often pointed to narrative elements deeper in the images.

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In the work for this show I’ve used a variety of supports ranging through steel, brass plate, burlap, linen and woven polyester. I admire fashion photography, its’ brave flatness, and I’ve given these images the slightly ruined look of a fantasy whose layers peel back to reveal the armature of a figurative construct. 

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Exhibition Word and image

This post contains documentation of the exhibition World Like This in the form of an artist statement and exhibition images.

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This body of work began 12 years ago during an art residency in Taipei looking at, and recording Chinese public space. Unexpectedly, perhaps the most memorable experience there was taken from contemporary urban, rather than traditional Chinese culture. I scrawled the following description on the gallery wall in a show of work produced during the three month period:

At peak hour in a crowd we were waiting to cross Chunghsiao rd at the main station. A large bus was turning the corner we were standing on, it had a long mirror window, and the whole crowd was reflected in the window. As the bus turned, we were turned, our images turned around us, the bus window was 10 metres long, 1.2 metres above the ground and 2 metres wide. It carried our reflections for 20 or 30 metres upon it before we slid off.

The paintings in this show date from September 2013. The titles reflect the context of a period spent in Lyon, France earlier that year researching aspects of the weaving quarter there, particularly the Jacquard loom invented in the district. The Jacquard loom is the earliest digital industrial machine and provides a transparent view of digital carded information into physical processes. Tense threads suspended in complex formation between the tall head board and loom bed. The idea of the painting as a loom appeals to me, conjuring with elements in a finely calibrated field.

I hope the work engages both a physical architectural sense of place and a contemplative association with contemporary public spaces.

Nameer Davis

August 2015

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World Like This

August 2015, I’ve been working on the forthcoming show of paintings single-mindedly; this post provides a preview and context for a set of works whose origins date back to my 2013 residency in Lyon France, to which this blog is dedicated. image A13 synthetic polymer on woven polyester 101cm x 122cm

The crowd, whether mob or multitude is an assembly of people.  In these paintings (and this blog) it’s an untraceable form, spatial in nature, a shifting precipice edged by the energies between people where gaps are constantly opening and closing. This shuttering lends the crowd  an implied verticality, happening upon cliffs and canyons.

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Fast Track  synthetic polymer on aluminium 240 cm x 60 cm

 I was walking on a hill high above a football field with teams practicing. As players weaved towards me into lower right vision they seem to turn on their side, as if that area has  become flattened, bowed out and held in a schematic space. image  Severance  synthetic polymer on aluminium 240cm x 60cm

The Jacquard loom (invented in Lyon)  fed information via punch cards to the thread lifters in time with the shuttle. The space between the lifted and bedded threads is shallow,  just a few centimetres,  but enough to contain the information flow of coded patterns woven forward and reverse; mirrored and disintegrating. image loom synthetic polymer on woven polyester 137cm x 122 cm

Painting based in experience offers a corrective view of its subject; as Julian Barnes writes of Courbet, the world is ‘not like that, it’s like this’. The aluminium panels in this show shape up as figurative constructs. A physical architecture in which the viewer and groups and crowds have a structural role in holding the space together. image    Somewhere In London synthetic polymer on aluminium 240 cm x 60cm

Waiting in a public space for someone, scrutinizing the passing.  Refine  and exclude. Repeat. Again. These differential sifting skills are ways of paying attention, creating models in much the same way that memory palaces once functioned. I look, and you are there.

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