James Davis (1940-2019)

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Arguably Australia’s foremost living force in the world of Surrealism. Embracing societal scars and whims of fantasy, rampant and verdant nature and the flames of the apocalypse, James Davis takes no prisoners with his paintings. His global wanderings and his localised observations where he acts as a reporter from the somnambulistic side of reality bearing light into the darkness.

James Davis was born in Sydney, Australia and studied at The National Art School and Julian Ashton’s School of Fine Art.

The greater part of his twenties was spent living in Northern Europe, principally in Amsterdam and Berlin, where he leaned towards the abstract expressionist movement and primarily in the direction of Willem De Kooning’s figurative, abstract form.

In his early thirties, he abandoned painting, intending to return to art after a year or two. This was not to occur for another fifteen years and it was another four more years before he was to exhibit again.

His return to art was marked by a commitment to figurative, expressionist art and social comment around Fitzroy and Collingwood.

In 1993, James returned to Europe for three years, living and working in Budapest (Hungary), Tabor (Czech Republic) and Antwerp (Belgium), producing a new body of work relating primarily to my Hungarian and Czech experiences.

Since returning to Australia, he continue to paint social comment and social conscience art, as well as a new edition of garden paintings presented in a surreal manner. His work is closely linked to United Kingdom artists, Ken Currie and Peter Howson, who both produce work of similar sentiment.