6 - 8pm, Thursday 17th Oct
Jo Davenport - Red Sky in the Morning
The directors of Arthouse Gallery, Ali and Di Yeldham, are excited to present a vibrant new body of work by leading contemporary artist Jo Davenport.
Davenport pivots her painting process on ‘an awareness of the surface and the energy it creates’. She compounds different surfaces in a kind of reverse excavation, consciously concealing meaning and form so that the viewer uncovers their own truths. The artist begins by loosely tipping, pouring and splashing many layers of translucent paint. ‘After some time, the painted surface starts to take on a life of its own and I respond to that’, she explains. Davenport allows the painting to ‘talk’ to her, each mark a single syllable that gradually formulates a dialogue between artist and artwork. Building up and scraping back the surface, she leaves visible traces of earlier painting; a process called pentimento – Italian for repentance. Yet Davenport’s paintings are less about repentance and more about redemption, reclaiming moments from memory, life from loss, time from transience.
As one of six artists involved in the Earth Canvas initiative this year, Davenport has been learning about regeneration farming and ruminating on the precariousness of ‘nature’ in the age of the Anthropocene. Harnessing her own experiences of the Australian landscape – specifically in the farming community of Mundarlo – the artist consciously shifts her lens away from lamenting the earth’s plight and focuses instead on the joy of nature. ‘Nature is full of life and joy and I am always looking for creative ways to respond to it in paint’, she says. The trope of regeneration pervades this series as Davenport considers the importance of living sustainably and nurturing the earth; ‘a desire to stand back from mother nature and empower her’. Instead of dwelling on grand Romantic narratives, the landscapes form quieter, more maternal contemplations of the fragility and intimacy of the landscape.
The spirited paintings of Jo Davenport drift effortlessly between rupture and unity. Remembered, real and imagined landscapes converge on the canvas, forming a visual vernacular that silences the constructs of time and space. The artist’s visceral layering of oil, coupled with processes of stripping back and erasure, visualises place as an embodiment of both presence and absence. This tectonic approach moves beyond appearances and summons the ‘spirit’ of a place, fusing residues from Davenport’s personal history with the realities of the present.
Rushcutters Bay 66 McLachlan Avenue, Rushcutters Bay NSW 2011