Indepth Arts News: |
"Robert Davies: Chromogenesis"
2004-05-01 until 2004-05-22
In his exhibit at the Tatar Gallery, U.K. artist Robert Davies brings his engaging hard edge colour field photography to Toronto for the first time as part of the CONTACT Photography Festival. Chromogenesis is a refined series of abstract photographs, each image mounted beneath a solid pane of transparent acrylic glass. These small, jewel-like pieces are visually enchanting; rich with colour and alluring depth. At first glance, the viewer’s gaze is ensnared by the luminosity of the vertical tri-colour systems, initially unaware of the ice-like barrier protecting them. This crystalline shield isolates the colour surfaces beyond physical avenues of perception, and enhances the intensity of the single remaining sensory apparatus: vision.
Conceptually, Chromogenesis marks Davies’ skilful resolution of major challenges in contemporary abstract art. The works pay homage to earlier colour field artists Ellsworth Kelly and Joseph Albers, and the erudite writings of theorist John Gage (who explores cross-cultural and historical perceptions of colour); yet Davies’ painstaking technique of exhaustively mixing and cataloguing combinations of cyan, magenta, and yellow, have ensured that each piece is wholly individual, unique, and unrepeatable.
Davies works in the ever-expanding liminal space between painting and photography – the works owe their genesis to the photographic chemical processes of the darkroom, yet they are created without a camera. Despite being “works of art in the mechanical age of reproduction,” Chromogenesis is a reaction to and a rejection of exact mechanical image reproduction. Each piece is singular in both selection and juxtaposition of colours.
Although the technical processes used to create these works are undeniably complex, Davies remains a master of simplification, of the reduction of form. In the resulting straightforward images, there can be simply no room for imperfection. Their beauty has a mathematic precision that parallels the effect of the protective surface in distancing the subject colours from external association. In Chromogenesis we are undeniably made witness to the birth of something new.
Acrylic No. 17, 2001
C-Type Print Etched to Acrylic and
Backed with Aluminum
9" x 11.4" x 1"