Ian Davenport, Untitled Circle Painting: Blue/Pale Grey/Blue, 2005.
The colorful drips of paint in Ian Davenport’s paintings create multi-layered sets of information for viewers to absorb, process, and consider. More concerned with the function of paint as a material than with standard color theory, the work ultimately questions the practice of painting.
Historically, painting served as a method in which to represent reality, and artists have long used the tools of perspective and composition to render depictions of the world. Ian Davenport approaches the discipline from a radically different direction. By positioning painting itself as the subject of his research, the artist’s oeuvre acts as a vehicle for new thought around the medium. Consequently, Davenport’s work helps to debunk the common perception that art is measured solely by technique, and remains true to post-conceptual movements by challenging the definition of “labor” in painting.
Horizons presents a group of works mapping the ongoing development of the artist’s career. Demonstrating his interest in the theatrics of painting, influence from American abstract painters such as Jackson Pollock and Brice Marden can be found in these bodies of works. The emergence of post-conceptualism in the 1970s ensured complete freedom from the constraints of pure painting technique. Davenport’s process of dripping paint onto metal sheeting results in repetitive lines, imbuing the paintings with a sense of anonymity. Though his presence remains firmly in the background, this aesthetic forces viewers to actively look at the painting.
(Photo courtesy of the artist and Waddington Custot Galleries.)