NEW YORK, NY.- Vladimir Restoin Roitfeld
announces the first New York solo exhibition by Peter Davies. FUNCTION/RITUAL features 11 abstract, monochrome paintings which continue from Daviess previous exhibition, INVOCATION (The Approach, London 2012).
At first, this group of paintings appears to be a set of grey monochromes. Upon closer inspection, they reveal themselves to consist of numerous small-scale black on white meticulous marks or shapes, forming patterns and textures. The tough, understated, cold but organic appearance and the paintused like ink to create a graphic textureoffer a reduced or distilled idea of what painting is. The paintings are effectively a by-product of the process or activity of their making. They are the outcome of a daily activity mapping the passing of time. This is a performance the viewer will never witness.
The works reflect a repetitive, ritualized, performative activity informed by the structure and rigidity of Systems Art, the toughness of Conceptualism and the coldness of Minimalism and Op Art combined with an attitude which points to a sense of abjection drawn from contemporary life.
These paintings carry on from a previous body of work, INVOCATION, extending their intent and interest in setting up systems and revealing their shortcomings via the handmade nature of the work. By identifying, setting up and infiltrating a system, strategically inhabiting it, it is contaminated, polluted and degraded by the failure of the hand to achieve a mechanized result. This creates a system purposed to corrupt a structure, which serves to contrast the apparent cold industrial look of the grey monochrome, by highlighting and underlining its subjectivity, to provide a critique of the process of its making.
The paintings are objective in idea but subjective in their realization. Davies likes the aesthetic implications of Process Painting, but not the readiness of its explanation. In these paintings, the handmade quality, and thereby the inconsistencies of the process, where the hand is subservient to a greater system/framework of order, are intended to act as an aggressive critique of Process Painting.
The process that Davies subjects these paintings to results in an impoverished appearance, being markers of a repeated activity that can become extreme, of which they are survivors. In addition, he wants for them to be transcendent, brutal and utilitarian. The understated economy of their quiet muted appearance questions the laboriousness of their creation and contradicts the ferocity of their intention. Whilst not imposing meaning, the repeated ritualism creates content and atmosphere that exceeds their matter-of-fact function.
The works aim to function as reduced ideas of paintings, but be informed by the complexity of the ritual of their creation.