Jeremy Davison 30sc

Jeremy Davison

I was born in Kentville, Nova Scotia (Mi'kma'ki), in the Annapolis Valley. 

I recently moved to Sherbrooke, Québec after graduating from Concordia University in Montreal with a BFA––major in painting and drawing (honours with distinction).

What started as a product-oriented practice with a primary focus on painting has evolved into a concept-driven, research-oriented, and process-based methodology manifested within an interweaving of drawing, painting, photography, and sculpture.

Since graduating, I have been working and researching to deepen my knowledge and conquer a new critical dimension by delving into categories like nature and deep time, ideas of cycles, resonances, and rotation 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.

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, the processes of time, 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 an interest in how people or things are connected, I am creating an oeuvre with varying protagonists through a reciprocal engagement with the intention to provoke encounters and dialogue. The work, therefore, articulates a wide range of relationships between new and sometimes contrary concepts, attitudes, and layers of time. I am looking 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 strategies of chance, intuiting facets of intimacy and control, and the freedom of letting go of total 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.

By poetically and critically combining abstract forms and motifs found throughout nature and architecture 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––nourished and shaped by mythologies, personal symbolism, collective beliefs, rituals, social fears, and desires. This process mirrors the accumulation of associations that are part of life, with an emphasis on re-seeing what is frequently ignored.

With their unusual character, the works lend themselves to the unpredictable, at times with an element of humour, refusing to accept set definitions or traditions while following overt and hidden traces to establish both clear-cut and surprising links between the two. By choosing to salvage objects that have captured evidence of the past––that are regarded as neglectable or negligible––rather than focusing on rare or expensive materials, I am questioning what differentiates art, heritage, and debris. I seek to reveal untold, neglected, and forgotten stories whose associations with expanded notions of heritage have the potential to open up a new discourse on heritage-making––to provide a more nuanced and pluralistic perspective on what to keep for future generations and what to let go. I often use my own biography as a point of departure to reflect on private and collective histories in constant transformation.

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 exactly 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.

I am concerned with the intrinsic and transformative properties of materials––the materialization of processes of constant exchange within our environment––between humans and other living beings––and the quandary of contemporary human cycles of consumption and waste.

I am working against the grain, against linear time, slowing the process down and digging deeper, taking a more rarefied approach that offers opportunities to pause and reflect on the vision and philosophy that underpins my output. I am questioning bourgeois art, approaching an aesthetic which interweaves life and art while using creativity to instigate spaces for emancipatory practices, joy, and play.


Instagram:  j_rremy (Jeremy Davison)