Jack Davidson

smoking a fag, kissing a man

November 5 – December 23, 2016
Artist Reception: Saturday, November 5, 2016, 3 – 6 p.m.

CB1 Gallery is excited to present our second solo exhibition of the work of Barcelona based artist Jack Davidson, smoking a fag, kissing a man. All of Davidson’s work in the exhibition, a series of eight 60 x 44 inch collages, was executed during the artist’s April/May 2016 residency at Yaddo in Saratoga Springs, New York. The exhibition will be on view from November 5 through December 23, 2016. An opening reception for the artist will be held on Saturday, November 5, 2016, 3 6 p.m.

When painting, Jack Davidson uses diluted paint, mixed in small plastic pots, a lot of which doesn’t get used. Sometime in 2012 he started painting entire sketchpads with this extra paint, sheet after sheet of almost monochrome oil paintings on paper, which he subsequently stored in a drawer in his studio. Towards the end of 2013 he started making collages using this painted paper, cutting and ripping it and then gluing it down. When the collages were done they were returned to the same drawer. Then in 2014, he started to make paintings directly from the collages, copying them compositionally, but almost always changing the color.

“One of the benefits of using the collage, one of its innate properties, was that in the original pieces of painted paper the brushstroke was often very obvious; loose and expressionistic and arbitrary,” says Davidson. “When making the painting I tried to simulate, but not copy, that brushstroke, with a similar sense of arbitrariness and looseness. This was something that previously I hadn’t allowed in the paintings, because that gestural expressionism always struck me as forced. But now, it being already in the source material allowed me to treat it as found, as something I was not responsible for.”

A four week residency at Yaddo was an opportunity to dedicate an extended period of time to working on collage. Almost immediately, Davidson’s collages got big. On this larger support, the painted paper sheets, previously prepared in the studio in Barcelona, could be used in their entirety, or several in a block. In their capacity to cover large areas they took on the properties of paint, and the collages took on the properties of paintings.

Davidson continues, “A weird symbiosis has developed between the collages and the paintings a back and forth, a to and fro. Information is shared and developed and shared again. The colors of the previous paintings manifest in the newer collages which in turn get introduced into the next paintings, where they may, or may not, get changed, to then be used in the following collages, which become the source of the …”

For years now, Jack Davidson has liberally stolen the titles for his paintings and exhibitions from song lyrics, choosing them not as an interpretative aid to the work but as an extra element altogether a poetic addendum. The exhibition title smoking a fag, kissing a man, from Wire’s 12XU (1977), right now, when we seem to be retrogressing in socio/political freedoms, seemed timely and appropriate.

Born in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1958, Jack Davidson initially studied law and then, following this false start, studied drawing and painting at Gray’s School of Art, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, graduating in 1981. A six-month stint working on North Sea oil rigs paid for his move south to London in early 1982. This was soon followed by another move, in 1986, to New York, where, working as an art trucker and installer the artist received his “real” art education. In 2001 Davidson moved to Barcelona, Spain, where he continues to reside. First exhibited in a group show curated by Bill Arning, “Libidinal Painting” at New York’s White Columns Gallery in 1993 he has continued to exhibit, in group shows and solo exhibitions, on both the East and West Coasts of the U. S. and in Europe.

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