Jeremy Davison 30sc

Jeremy Davison

I was born in Kentville, Nova Scotia (Mi'kma'ki), in the Annapolis Valley. I am currently based in Sherbrooke, Québec.

Since graduating (with distinction) from Concordia University in Montreal with a BFA, majoring in painting and drawing, I've realized that what started as a product-oriented art practice focused on painting has evolved into a concept-driven, research-oriented, and process-based methodology manifesting within an interweaving of drawing, painting, photography, and sculpture. I am now working and researching to deepen my knowledge and conquer new critical dimensions, by delving into categories like nature and deep time, ideas of cycles, resonances, and rotation and where endurance and spirit labour become tangible; exploring queer corporealities that reside within human-animal/ nonhuman-animal binaries, discovering how being human means existing intrinsically in more-than-human relationships. This entails an engaged and ongoing initiative to document, explore, and reimagine spaces in nature, such as oceanic shoreline spaces, as sites for healing. And while foregrounding this intimacy, engaging in moments of play, becoming, and entanglement.

Relationships form our world... my work investigates relationships and their types, focusing on connecting lines, entanglements, alliances, networks, kinships and their underlying mechanisms. I create scenarios for encounters: between the human and other-than-human, between the material and immaterial, between the organic and technical, between places and times; engaging in modes of imagining and practicing alternative ways of living through art.

Terence Hawkes wrote, “The true nature of things may be said to lie not in things themselves, but in the relationships which we construct and then perceive, between them; not in items but in structures.” Through my work, I am trying to develop a more nuanced understanding of phenomena, researching the impact of relationships and their entanglement: between the imagined and the perceived, while exploring boundaries and ambiguities between fact and fiction. I am focused on critical thinking about shifting landscapes, uncertain outcomes, time processes, and the common among humans while understanding cultural particulars.

In response to toxic discord (an attribute of the fragmentation strategy inherent to the capitalist system in which we live), one of the core axes of my work is to define ideas and then combine––join––things in ways that speak to this, to the pressing demands of our time, to engaged commitment, and the possibility of mutual understanding which is increasingly under threat. It is a process––a procession toward a way of life––that incorporates and shares spaces of health, regeneration, and healing.

Out of this interest in how people or things are connected, I am creating an oeuvre of varying protagonists. Through a reciprocal engagement with the intention to provoke encounters and dialogue, the work articulates a wide range of relationships between new and sometimes contrary concepts, attitudes, and layers of time. I am looking the frozen structures of social convention in the face, offering counter-opinions to the power and politics of the status quo.

The work oscillates between gestural expression and strategy of chance, intuiting facets of intimacy, total control, and the freedom of letting go of control. One could say that the works are an exploration of shared and contested ideas and the indelible impact of the past on a shared present. This pairing, is homage to slow gestations within a multiplicity of influences and considers existential experiences such as the cosmological origin of the world and the associated cycles of life and death, growth and decomposition––while foreshadowing an afterlife within ruin.

Through poetic and critical means, abstract forms & motifs found throughout nature & architecture are combined with objects, images, and materials that are often overlooked, undervalued, and discarded, I am creating a hybrid visual language based on cultural and historical constructions that is both shaped and nourished by mythologies, personal symbolism, collective beliefs & rituals, and social fears & desires. This process mirrors the accumulation of associations that are part of life; with an emphasis on re-seeing what is frequently ignored.

Two common questions reoccur within the work: What differentiates art from heritage or debris, and what is worth preserving? In an effort to reveal the untold, neglected and forgotten stories whose associations with expanded notions of heritage hold the potential to open up new discourses on heritage-making and to reveal more nuanced and pluralistic perspectives on what to keep for future generations and what to let go, rather than focusing on rare or expensive materials, I look to unconventional materials regarded as neglectable or negligible that have captured evidence of the past.

I often use my own biography as a point of departure, tracing it back to my own experiences of displacement, disorientation, and transgenerational transmission of trauma which are nonetheless universal and topical issues of rootlessness, alienation and loss. Who am I, where do I come from, where is my home, and what lies beyond it? Ultimately, there is no resolution or escape from that which makes us who we are—only a venture towards new illustrations and narratives.

My approach to making is above all concerned with forging imagistic and conceptual metaphors that are resonantly ambiguous. This ambiguity extends to how it engages the viewer in disparate ways while pulling them closer and pushing them away, simultaneously arousing and frustrating desires to understand precisely my intentions; pointedly inviting viewers to employ their imaginations in working out possible interpretations; often questioning how the work’s social reception might shift among varied audiences. Ultimately this kind of work seeks to undercut simplistic readings of pictorial content; by mining the medium’s multiplicity, I intend to remind the viewer that subject matter is never reducible to its imagery but emerges from the complex resonance and friction generated by the interlacing of disparate references and formal relationships.

Within a frame that is traversed by an imaginative, hidden process – built through a never fully completed narrative relationship between myself, that which I create, and the observer – my work slides between existing categories and genres, oscillating between invention and observation, depiction and allegory, illusion and materiality – operating in the realm of the infra-ordinary, the impalpable, and the unconscious. I approach the medium as a platform for speculative thinking and unexpected conversations. I treat the work as a site of assemblage where stylistic tropes and references from varying time periods and territories converge.

People ... the impact of their relationships and entanglement to all things surrounding them, their interpersonal relations, modes of perceiving bodies, images, and materials ... are currently undergoing far-reaching changes as our everyday lives are increasingly relocated into virtual space. This restructuring of space and accompanying media developments are also affecting the status of artistic mediums and their relationships to materiality and visuality. I am interested in exploring materials' intrinsic and transformative properties, the materialization of processes of constant exchange within our environment, and the quandary of contemporary human cycles of consumption and waste.

I am working against the grain––against linear time, slowing down the process, digging deeper, taking a more rarefied approach that offers opportunities to pause and reflect on the vision and philosophy that underpins my output; questioning bourgeois art while developing a life–art aesthetic that:

  1. uses creativity to instigate spaces for emancipatory practices, joy and play.
  2. deviates from the rules, reinvents codes, and challenges procedures.
  3. synthesizes a network of tensions between natural and human-made objects.
  4. pursues a socially engaged and environmentally conscious artistic practice.

I consider my life and artistic practice a working methodology that confounds strictly methodical thinking; that appeals to uncertain terrains of the unconscious, challenges parameters of perception and proposes new ways of seeing, feeling, and conceiving other imaginaries. At times the scale and fragility of the work combine to create a heightened awareness of bodies in space; the exchange of energy between viewer and object can be thick with suspense and expectation. Their precariousness belies the physical and emotional pressure they hold. Will this last... can this stand... is this too heavy?


Instagram:  j_rremy (Jeremy Davison)