The Shape Of Words

Three artists, three galleries, the exhibition is open and with it an opportunity to reflect on what has taken place within the actuality of the gallery.

David Parker


Looking at David’s show I think it could be given the subtitle: In  space no one can hear you scream.  The work is colourful and high volume, you get a sudden brief inundation of visual noise, then everything goes silent as if it’s behind a glass screen. This seems to be caused by a counter movement between the word or image and its spatial treatment.

david parker 4

When the marks are gestural and up there on the surface there’s a sudden leap to the mid or back-ground that leaves notes hanging in space. On the other hand in the single treatment watercolours, the wet ground has pulled the mark into an airy, blown space like clouds carrying the memory of a shaping force in their softening forms.

Other works theatrically fling the painter’s stock-in-trade canvas and stretcher crushed, folded and wrapped onto the floor or wall. The momentary in this show isn’t an essential moment, but a sudden stoppage as if to be more reflective will be the loss of a sustaining energy.

Barbara Penrose

Bpenrose anagram 1 & 2

gallery statement by the artist:

Georgia O’Keefe: ‘( I was like) a little plant, watered, weeded and dug around’

O’Keefe lived her late years in the New Mexico desert. She made this wry statement when asked about her life, decades earlier with the photographer Alfred Stieglitz to whom, in a conflicted way, she remained devoted.

barbara penrose anagram II

Barbara Penrose: My previous installation work has developed an expanded geometry into the building architecture. Anagram I & II are scaled to hold a spatial geometry within themselves.

barbara penrose 1

Georgia O’Keefe was a female artist instrumental in developing large scale wall work. The crosscurrents between her famous desert imagery and the quoted statement gave impetus to this work.

barbara penrose 2

installation shot nameer Davis  and barbara penrose

Nameer Davis

The  fashion plate aesthetic from which this imagery derives has its terms of success based in the figure and its power &/or entrapment within the frame.  The installation here presents a slightly different face to the work than previously posted.

ndavis reflector installation 5

There’s a distancing formality, partly influenced by the  photographs which hang from the facial expression of the model,  and partly the particular green paint mixed to resemble the craft-paper cut-outs I had scaled to the pre-stained and stretched supports as intermediary drawings.  After staining the cloth support, the cut-out image was a decisive layer in which method had more import than aesthetics. This direction is reflected in the titles combining  terms from  Adobe image-editing (printed in black) and from  the fashion industry (in red).

ndavis reflector installation 26

The single figure works installed as a wall composition rather than a series of discrete works reads close to how they were conceived – akin to a fashion industry studio wall . Finally I’m thinking back to an early show of my figurative work derived from a 19th Century stereoscope. Importance is given to the space in which the figure is placed. The works in the  earlier show were all shaped,  in the current works the lines leading between figures and frame treat the photographic space as an actual corner of the world. It reminds me  of the word recapitulation, which if taken literally from the Latin reads ‘revisit the head’.  Looking between past and present, object and other in order to gain hold of a conscious moment.

ndavis reflector installation 4


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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.


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.

installation 1

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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