Artist Rosalind Davis recently sat down with both Rise Art and A-N mag to discuss her practice, background and ambitions as an artist.
You went to study textiles at the RCA in 2003 but spent most of your time in the painting department. Could you speak about that transition?
I come from an artistic background, my father Peter Davis is an artist and we spent our childhood absorbing a lot of art. I was always painting: at Chelsea I always had worked closely with painting and photography to create innovative surfaces. Within my work now I still manipulate and transform materials and surfaces.
At the RCA I didn’t actually have the opportunity to be in the painting department but I did snaffle the painting professor Graham Crowley. Graham stripped me of my fears of calling myself an artist and the realities of art as a profession.
Rosalind painting in her London studio
Painting means a huge amount to me. Painting is something I feel I will never conquer. Mind you I feel equally similarly about textiles and the range of expression I can get from that. Both are enabling to me and fused together, they create something quite different.
Your painting seems to represent a paradox where the forces of decay seem also to be a way out of the failure of modernity.
My painting explores many paradoxes; I seek to transform the failing of modernity. My work is an examination, a documentation of the ideals of utopia and dystopia of human experience and a reflection on the socio political aspects of these urban developments and disintegration. I find it an interesting and tragic paradox that so many of these hi rise buildings were inspired by a belief that people would be closer to God, yet 40 or 50 years later these places are described as ‘Hell’s living room’.
'26 Remain' by Rosalind Davis. 65x65cm. Oil and Embroidery on poly-silk
Can you talk about how your ideas evolve, where they are at now and where you think they might be going?
My ideas for artworks evolve in a number of different ways: Before I begin the painting I research the history and politics of a space/ environment or building, bad planning, poverty leading to ghettoisation. I read articles, blogs and also have at times interviewed people using these spaces. I source buildings through research sometimes physically – cycling through an area I have sourced and taking photos. Sometimes a piece of fabric inspires me, for example a Toile De Jouy fabric led to ask questions about industrialisation, the current economic crisis and the exportation and outsourcing of so many industries within the UK.
Interview by Andrew Bryant. This piece was first published on the a-n's blog