Paul Davis: Joyous at Coningsby Gallery
These new paintings by artist Paul Davis are generated from his notebooks full of sketches and observations, pages of which are on display alongside the larger works. These drawings and overheard conversations are funny and sarcastic little asides, which reveal a wicked sense of humour.
The paintings, all from 2013, favour white canvases as backgrounds with evidence of different works painted over underneath, adding a layer of thought. Scribbles and doodles, words and blobs of colour, give a spontaneous feel to the main figures: dense, face-shaped shadows, or quick sketches of characters. Depth is given by alternating matt and gloss paint, an effective technique which keeps the images visually intriguing.
There is a sardonic humour running through the works, and while the faces are often dark and mask-like, they are comical, and the overall effect of the exhibition is cheerful, and yes, Joyous. Repetition of images – the faces or airborne plastic bags – adds an angle of obsessiveness to these cryptic cartoons. References to scientific equations and ideas suggest more clues and the titles (Beauteousness, Bolloksome, Sex Feelings) are captions, which aptly sum up the punch lines.
Overall, the works look as if they were crafted by an artist who can draw perfectly well, but deliberately done with the left or less dominant hand in order to get to a feeling of planned spontaneity, a technique often used by artists in order to tap into the subconscious layers. Davis doesn’t make work about imagined worlds: his paintings retain the feel of a sketchbook page in which he captures the fascinating peculiarities of humanity and the oddness of being human.
Photos: Marika Parizzi
Paul Davis: Joyous is at Coningsby Gallery until 27th July 2013. For further information visit the gallery’s website here.
For further information about Paul Davis visit his website here.