This exhibition consists of a large group of monochrome abstract paintings on raw canvas, heralding a new development in Davies' work. In contrast to previous exhibitions, Rites introduces hard-edged abstract paintings derived from paper collages projected onto the canvas. The cutting and placing of paper onto a projector undertakes a process of fluid and intuitive organisation generating an image.
The apparent simplicity of these paintings belies a greater sophistication in their metaphorical construction and design. Their initial appearance is suggestive of gestural painting, but the gesture has been somewhat distanced from the artist’s hand through the intermediary use of scissors over a brush to initially create the painted minimal geometric abstractions.
There is directness akin to pop and commercial design in this work, as well as an economy conversant with a curiosity for the delicacy of a European perspective on Minimalism. The painterly language referenced also embraces the esoteric qualities, passion and awkwardness of the artefacts of folk culture. Ultimately however, these paintings are a continuation of the artist’s desire to arrive at a further reduced and distilled idea of a painting. They are contextualised by previous bodies of work, sharing their systematic framework for production whilst critiquing and countering them in the difference of their appearance. This new body of work allows the viewer the freedom to enjoy their immediate picturesque qualities, whereas previous paintings offered a sensation derived from the painstaking and obsessive process of their making.
The relationship between formal elements in individual paintings in this exhibition suggests that they are informed by an affinity with choreography and sculpture manifest in two-dimensional painted objects. Despite their graphic appearance in reproduction, in person the paintings appear tactile due to the laborious hand-painted layering of the varying tones of dark grey acrylic. Caught between a paused moment of expression and deadpan stillness, these new works hint at an impassioned relationship to painting, evoking space for emotion, narrative and mystery.
Peter Davies - Rites
The Approach, June 4 - July 19