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By: Rosalind Davis
In the summer I am going to be showing in the Projection Space at John Jones ‘ Which has a long history of supporting emerging artists and contemporary art. .. '
I see this as a fantastic opportunity to start a blog and take you on the journey with me as I agonise over new work and mull over my experiences in the art world.
# 16 [26 August 2009]
The exhibition at John Jones has now finished and with it comes a trace of sadness but also many positive things to conclude this blog with. It has been fantastic in terms of feedback, I have had my first reviews, one from our very own editor Andrew Bryant which is rather amazing!
click the below link to read it.
as well as on Spoonfed.co.uk
Projection really did project me out there and project my work.
It made me start a blog through which I have met and had dialogue with a number of interesting people. For John Jones, the exhibition with all the blog feeding in created a buzz of excitement for them and there were a lot of positive comments from staff and visitors alike. Their enthusiasm and professionalism did not wane and I have grown very attached to them all.
I have since been preparing for the next group show I am in at PHOENIX BRIGHTON, with Louise Bristow , Peter Bobby, Rowena Easton, Mark Hewitt, Jane Ward, Rich Whitewhich opens next Friday for a preview, 4th September until 11th October .
Floor Plan explores buildings, architecture, and the physical, aesthetic, and psychological interactions between these structures, their inhabitants, and the surrounding communities. www.phoenixbrighton.org
We are going to be having a panel discussion on the 23rd September with Zoe Whitley, Curator of Contemporary Programmes at the V&A, around the central themes in the ‘Floor Plan’ exhibition, and in particular, the interrelationship between psychology and architecture which inspires further thoughts on the themes I am concerned with in my work.
There are several more exhibitions to go this year and each one teaches me something new and makes new connections. It is a joy ( sometimes laced with anxiety!)
And so now fellow travellers I leave you with two things, this interview I did for Oh Goodness Greatness, which is something on a more personal note
and with words from Graham Crowley.
‘ Being an artist is a complex and demanding business...’
Ain’t that the truth
# 15 [7 August 2009]
It turned out to be quite an amazing evening. A whirlwind of chatter! I think I spoke about my work for about 5 hours straight. In fact I got a rather lovely review, my very first one from Spoonfed. I am so excited I can barely sleep!
Assemblage at John Jones Project Space by: Claire_loves_jam
Assemblage is a 'festival of contemporary makers' pursuing the workshop's commitment to thrusting emerging artists and unseen, contemporary art into the public arena. The project space lurks down a quiet lane near Finsbury Park tube station and strategically draped lanterns create an intimate, ambient atmosphere. It's refreshingly unpretentious.
The star of the night has to be Rosalind Davis. Her exhibition of mixed media paintings in the Projection space reflects a fascination with grotty and disused looking buildings which have an underlying importance to the communities they serve. The pieces fuse painting with collage and embroidery and invite closer inspection to see where cotton ends and acrylic begins.
The idea here is that the tessellated canvas explores equally complex themes enshrined within the structures they are based upon. Often the buildings painted are taken from areas of serious social deprivation and are supposed to represent the lifeblood of their surrounding communities.
From a distance broad, bold brush strokes used to depict neglected buildings contrast with delicate, floral print backgrounds but a closer look reveals meticulous detail. Each individual stitch masquerades as a streak of paint which at times can look a little chaotic – something I'm told is meant to emphasise the fragility of the structures captured on canvas. It's a bit like art nouveau; the deeper you delve into the image the more attention to detail you find. My eyes are sore.
Despite their vivid and bright tones, I still find the paintings very foreboding. Whether or not they're successful in portraying 'melancholy dystopian landscapes that explore human experience and identity' I would certainly recommend checking out Ms Davis' work.
# 14 [30 July 2009]
The Summer Art Party is tomorrow! Eek!
The feedback from John Jones has been fantastic already with clients really engaging with the works. Tomorrow there will be about 600 people heading through the doors. I feel faint.
I actually really like talking about the works, the discussions are fascinating. Also if you go to the RCA you soon stop feeling self conscious about it as you are always explaining and exploring your works to rooms full of people. It doesn’t stop the nerves though and tomorrow will be super –charged. My biggest fear is being mediocre. I don’t mind if people don’t like it….well I do if I am really honest but that is not realistic.
In the interim I have been distracting myself with those research trips I mentioned. Assembling ideas and planning out pieces. I am going paint 3 pieces inspired by Margate. A memento-mori of a town. One of the pieces is going to be interspliced with social housing from Poplar as problem families used to be shipped out of London to Margate.
I remember Margate was so vibrant when we went there as children, now row upon row of boarded up shops are like skeletons on the marine parade. The Turner contemporary exhibition in a former M&S was fantastic though. A really great show and indicative of the revival which may have a chance to occur there.
I have also been to Brighton to discuss my next exhibition, ‘Floorplan’ at the Brighton Phoenix Gallery in September, a very good public gallery. I am organising a workshop with a local community group, plus I and the other artists shall be involved in an artists talk discussing the psychology of buildings which I am already looking forward to.
I have also been planning and interviewed for drawing workshops at the Tower of London and found out today I got the job!
As for painting, I am now back to the actuality of it. I am as always slightly daunted by what has I have made before. Back into the cycle of questioning, exploring, doubting and persevering.
Tomorrow if you are coming to the Summer Art Party you will be able to find me, see johnjones.co.uk for more details. I shall be the lady doused in Lavender oil and hopefully not breathing into a bag. Come say hello
# 13 [13 July 2009]
I have not left yet! No no, here a little longer......I have been working away at one last painting in the last week before the show opens. There were also a book of drawings to organise and now.....The paintings have been hung and there is the undeniable fear and exhiliration of the Exhibition!
you may be pleased to hear, I am restored to good health, have broken only a few more glasses and am considering tackling my tax return (joy)
I am also seeking new inspiration and have been cycling around poplar and silvertown, very bleak in places. I saw 5 burnt out pubs in a mile! I am also off to Gravesend and Margate over the next week. Exciting! I used to spend weekends at Dreamland in Margate with my dad and I am interested to see how it has changed, soak up the atmosphere. Seaside towns are intriguing, a mix of kitsch and seediness.
Also with the big art party at John Jones to gear up to on the 31st July I am doing all that I can to promote the show and am constantly thrilled by the great help of John Jones crew in all of this and the marvellous marketing ladies ! Self promotion can be a terrible bane but a necessary evil. In some ways it can be quite a joy if people respond to you,an exhibition is a great reason to get in touch with peole and tell them what you are working on. At other times it feels like you must as well be chucking a piece of paper out of the window for all the good it is doing you....! I shall let you know how it all goes.....
# 12 [7 July 2009]
I am delighted to invite you to:
Projection Rosalind Davis
Exhibition from 6th July - 21st August
Open to the public Monday – Friday from 9am – 6pm
We are delighted to announce Rosalind Davis as our next artist to exhibit in Projection, a space for solo shows which aims to increase the exposure of mainly unseen artists as an aspect of their professional development.
Rosalind Davis is a mixed media painter and graduate from the RCA, creating melancholy dystopian landscapes that explore human experience and identity.
Davis fuses painting, collage and embroidery onto printed floral fabrics, selected for their historical, cultural and symbolic representations. This complex relation between mediums is integral to the piece emphasising the fragility of the spaces depicted and the disconcerting juxtaposition between aesthetics and meaning.
4 Morris Place, N4 3JG
020 7281 5439
# 11 [29 June 2009]
The delivery van from John Jones is coming tomorrow and I am putting the last few details into the paintings.
I feel I have learnt a lot in these 2 months about my painting. I have found a new confidence, a freedom....the paintings have gotten less earnest. Less concerned with realistic representation and I am enjoying it all immensely. I am still unsure of my big well hall road piece and it may not be right still, but those decisions can come next week during installation and discussion of the pieces I shall show.
I have been using square scarves in these new pieces which allow for a new composition to occur within the works and to consider the composition in different ways and I shall continue to work on these scarves in the future. The interference between the floral patterns is interesting.
The florals produce a dichotomy with the rural and idyllic versus the tensions of the urban cityscape.
Physically and mentally I am exhausted. I have felt under the weather on and off for the last month really. My head and eyes ache and my throat is sore. I think I will be in bed on Wednesday recuperating.... Painting is a very physical effort and you are also pouring yourself into it mentally. Challenging your opinions on it, reviewing the pieces, considering when to stop the paint and where to start again.
Emotionally though I allow myself to feel a bit proud of the progress I have made and where I have been less successful in them there are lessons to be learnt.
I am excited and eager to get onto the next one. To discover more. To keep going.Wish me luck
# 10 [29 June 2009]
I was having a conversation with someone about buildings. Why I like buildings? What makes me paint them? why particular buildings? the reasons develop and evolve and there are many layers to it.
Buildings have powerful connotations. Notions of identity are strongly linked with building; the places where we are bound.
They are refuges, sanctuary, prisons, cells, palaces. They can be cultural and social signifiers.
Buildings can often be relegated to the background but can also contain all ones private thoughts, memories and emotions:
Within them we live out our lives. Evolving, destroying, living, dying. We love there and lose there.
They aid the construction of our individual identity whilst forming the foundations of society’s common identity.
Ever increasingly buildings are ephemeral and transient objects in our environment. I document these buildings. Fascinated by them. They make my heart sort of stutter, the huge housing estates and the seemingly lack of humanity. How utopia slides so quickly into dystopia. Yet somewhere in these places there are signs of light. A garden on a balcony...attempts of beauty and reform. You have to find something beautiful there so you can live, it may have just been the tree blossoming outside your window…
These places can feel like ghost towns even when they may still full of people. Lonely and sad. Their melancholy I understand. The pathos is a jagged kind of beauty.
# 9 [22 June 2009]
Preparing for the exhibition at John Jones and for others I constantly examine and consider my practise. A question that comes up from time to time is why I use embroidery within my works. I studied Mixed Media Textiles at The RCA and managed to get taught by the Professor Graham Crowley of the painting department as well which helped me immensely with my progress and development as an artist. Since then I have met with a number of interesting artists and art professionals who have educated me as well along the way.
Reasons I use embroidery;
Embroidery creates intimacy but it is an isolated pursuit. The spaces I paint combine both these elements, lonely places, yet communal.
The structures, the lines, the intricacy and meticulousness of the stitching are a contrast to the restless and agitated places depicted and the expressiveness of the paint.The alluring qualities or the embroidery threads are used to emphasise the fragility of the spaces depicted.
I wish to challenge conventional use of embroidery as a decorative and safe medium by placing it within paintings which depict unconventional beauty and bleak spaces.
A means to create complex, multilayered surfaces and combine techniques
Embroidery is used to reflect the organic subject matter as it is organic subject matteropportunity to find new freedoms and expressions in painting.
The printed floral farics I use in my works are historically and culturally conscious and symbolic.
A former tutor once wrote this for an exhibition of mine and I thought it was marvellous and articulated a lot of my feelings, for Textiles is a realm in which there is a lot of cute and decorative things and not taken very seriously. My work is concept driven and quite firmly art, whilst craft based in terms of painting and the embroidery in the sense that it is skilled.
‘Textiles are usually associated with decoration, pattern and colour, a soft, warm, feminine material. They are also an undervalued, underappreciated and misunderstood medium. The work of Rosalind Davis challenges the preconceptions that accompany the word, Textiles. Davis subverts the medium and presents us with an ominous, threatening world exposing us to post apocalyptic painted landscapes. The only evidence of human existence is rendered through her use of embroidery. It’s a dark and dirty tactile world that you will be glad not to inhabit. Textiles can be powerful stuff. ’
Freddie Robins Artist and Tutor in Constructed Textiles at the Royal College of Art, London
# 8 [22 June 2009]
So I have decided to start making another painting in between finishing two off. Why not?!. I just keep thinking that I want a great choice of work to pick from for my show at JJ. That I like to err on the side of caution of having too much work than not enough and I feel I am really developing and learning so much in the last few paintings that I don’t want to interrupt the flow.
Besides I am only going slightly mad already and if I sit unoccupied for too long I may just fall into a daze of tiredness so better to keep on the adrenaline rollercoaster.....
On Friday I went to Graham Crowley’s book launch at City and Guilds . The Principal there Tony carter gave a lovely speech about Graham which reflected and struck a note with the artists there about how difficult it can be for artists to keep body and soul together. The unreasonableness of trying to make art and make money, to keep your integrity and higher ideals as well as surviving.
It’s a struggle
I work part-time in order to allow me to make my work. But I dislike my droning job. Quite a lot. I would prefer to teach part-time art or textiles more but those kind of jobs are few and far between. I have done this particular job throughout my BA, MA and since.
It gives me some security and means I can buy paint and survive. The boring job is the sacrifice I am willing to make so that I can try and make a career in art and it is also only 2 days a week, the rest of the 5 I am painting and happy.
On another note, the brilliant Vented Spleen has published online his very witty ‘ Art School Scum’ graphic comic. The comic illustrates the people you find at Art Schools ( and the art world actually) , this is one of my favourites and very recognisable….not in me I hasten to add…..!
‘ The Self Obsessed Neurotic’
‘ Under the misguided impression that their lives are so much more interesting than anyone else’s, their work will , more often than not, focus on
1.The Artist’s sex life
2.A-boring-to-anyone-other-than-the-artist obsession/fetish of theirs
3. Their childhood.
It is pointless trying to instigate conversation with the self-obsessed neurotic about anything other than themselves as it is a futile gesture. ’
You can see the whole comic on Ventedspleen.com
# 7 [19 June 2009]
Have I said how I am running out of time? This week has been torn with appointments I have to keep, and other non-painting work to do- specifically teaching today. Teaching teachers actually, great fun!
It is the last couple of weeks I have before delivery of works. I am trying to keep hold of my anxiety, aware that again next week my days are fragmented into other duties and responsibilities. At some point I also need to speak to Ben, my LSP and see how his life is!
I cant do all nighters to finish, my body and mind not ablel to cope. Usually I finish way before the deadline and think why do I worry, but I do!
I also am in desparate need of a studio, I have paintings building up around me as I whirl between them, stitching , letting others dry, painting again.
Ben eyes the living room where my studio is in the corner, usually a little more self contained, he laughs it away but I am finding it hard to cope with the mess myself. I prefer neatness than an avalanche of paper and paints and embroidery everywhere,
on that note I have to go!
I am a mixed media painter creating complex, 3d dystopian landscapes that explore human and social experience and identity.
I explore themes of transience, survival, community and isolation
The medium I utilise, fusing painting with collage and embroidery, is complex.
Embroidery and collage is used as a mode of paint emphasise the fragility of the spaces depicted and the disconcerting juxtaposition between aesthetics and meaning.
I graduated from the RCA in 2005