I’ve been an admirer of John Davis’ sculptures since I came across a dusty black and white book in my first year of art school, and until his survey show, Presence, at the National Gallery Victoria, my enthusiasm had been based on mostly black and white photographic documentation of his delicate works. John Davis’ sculptures are surely a museum conservator’s nightmare – constructions of twigs, paper, cotton, tied loosely together or bonded with bitumen – which is probably the reason why I’d never seen more than one of his works in person before this show.
|Evolution of a Fish: Traveller (1990)|
Serendipitously, I visited the exhibition just after viewing the Tim Burton show at ACMI, and as a result Davis’ fish sculptures, which I’ve always considered quite serious pieces, started to look quite comical and animated with a monstrous streak. While I doubt Davis had similar intentions to Burton when creating his fish characters, I enjoy ‘seeing’ this very different side to the Evolution of the Fish series.
|Tree Piece (1973), Sculpturscape|
John Davis: Presence is at the NGV Australia, 6 August - 26 October 2010
Catalano, Gary. An Intimate Australia: the landscape and recent Australian art. Sydney: Hale and Ironmonger, 1985