Francine Davies Artist | Exhibitions
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Exhibitions

A Window on Iceland

My chosen path as an artist began to make sense, possibly for the first time, in the kitchen of one of my patrons as I witnessed not only the pleasure artwork can bring into a home but also the powerful relationship between people and place.  A work of art allows us to bring indoors those places that have moved us in some way. Until this point, Iceland was simply somewhere I hoped I would one day experience in person for its extremes of light and dark, meteorology, geomorphology and geology.  As I listened to my patrons enthusing about ‘Iceland’ I knew I needed to witness it in person to do it justice in painting. This exhibition is the outcome of a five day road trip taken in late October 2017 when the daylight was still good and snowfall at a minimum in the country.

Look, feel, imagine and react to what is in front of you.  You are not required to have visited this beautiful country to respond to what you see.  I invite you simply to notice things and interpret the scenes freely. These paintings are, after all, simply moments in time, the result of my memories, my ideals and often misguided misunderstanding of life, processes and the world within which we live.  The entire experience from the planning of the trip through to the hours spent in my studio and up to this exhibition has ensured my own perspective continues to evolve. This exhibition is one phase of my continued exploration of the country, re-visiting subject matter and experimenting with techniques and tools in the future.

I invite you to walk through this collection of paintings depicting my interpretation of a small section of Iceland in the west and south west of the island.  I invite you to watch as I explore a spectacular landscape that overwhelmed me and thrilled me to the point of exhaustion. I wish to evoke as many sensory responses as I can by revealing scenes that are in one breath loud and harsh, in another quietly beautiful, bold then subtle, clear then confused, simple then complex.  I have tried to capture what I saw and felt, touched, tasted, smelled and heard and they require the viewer sometimes to close their eyes and imagine what it would be like to experience the scene themself.

Many of the works were chosen based on just one feature.  On occasions, that was the hanging mist toying with our view, deciding how much of a mountain range to reveal.  Sometimes it was the impact a clear blue sky had on defining the landscape beneath. At others, it was the dominance of a feature that had errupted from deep within the earth’s core and settled on the surface.  It could be the simple burst of extraordinary colour starkly contrasting with its neighbouring materials. The images represent scenes that for different reasons took our breath away and literally stopped us in our tracks.  Only at Gullfoss Falls were we in a position to observe a scene from the top looking down. All other scenes are at ground level looking up. This left me wondering what they may have looked like from different elevations.

 

 

Final Thoughts

This beautiful country represents the stage of development at which a civilised world should stop, learn and listen. People are focused on understanding the natural world that surrounds them and of which they are a part , which allows them to work with it rather than against it. Most of the developed world is still carving up landscapes, driven by a mindset that sees nature as something that must be controlled, harnessed and exploited to meet the needs of the people inhabiting it.  Iceland on the other hand felt like a country that was not guided by fear, despite the harshness of the environment, but by a more sensitive, intelligent response, working with its own limitations and those posed by the natural world around them.

A fundamental part of Iceland is the hidden people (Huldufólk).  Some things are meant to remain hidden and simply ‘sensed’.  The hidden people of Iceland were present in the landscape. Our awareness of their presence allowed us to connect deeply with our surroundings in ways that gave us hope for the future.  What we brought home with us was an insight into how little we notice in our world as it transforms over time from a natural state to an industrialised one. We were reminded of how important it is to connect with the natural world around and act as guardians not owners of it!

 

 

An inspiration and an acknowledgement

There is a moment of karma that fits perfectly with how this journey came about over a year ago. The tragic death of Rhys Rubery, a truly inspiring young man, has moved me to break free of some self-imposed chains. This entire project has been guided by the ‘Rhys Rubery mantra’  – “Why not? Why aren’t you doing it?” I sense Rhys’ bewilderment at why I could possibly think I should not do something. My heart and thanks go out to Joanne, Jon and Catrin Alys Rubery who enabled such a powerful mindset to develop.

Art Below – Regents Park.

Frieze Art Fair

Brooks Street, Mayfair, London W1J

Art Below Summer Show

Herrick Gallery, Mayfair, London W1J 7NQ

26th June – 1st July 2018

Off The Wall Art Gallery

The Old Probate Registry,  49 Cardiff Road, Cardiff

I exhibit at this gallery all year round. Currently having two larger pieces on display.

The Grand Pavillion Exhibition, Porthcawl.

Showing from September 7th 2017 till October 7th 2017 at:

The Grand Pavillion, The Esplanade,  Porthcawl, CF36 3YW

I wanted this exhibition to ‘Bring the coastline inside’ and hoped I would be able to indulge myself with lots of paintings of the sea.  However, this exhibition has become as much about the landscape along parts of Porthcawls’ coastline and along my home, Ogmore-by-Sea, including the views as you look back from the sea inland.  Being able to go out on the water with friends offered a new vista.

It has been such an exciting and stimulating task as it allowed me to work outside my comfort zone and take spontaneous opportunities as they arose rather than follow a script.  I am really pleased with the outcomes simply because I have enjoyed experimenting with materials that would allow me to get a ‘Sense of the place’.  Porthcawl will mean a lot of things to a lot of people.  This collection of paintings is a representation of just a tiny part.

This latest exhibition is the result of long walks on wet, windy days in May and June and truly stunning days in July and August.  I have explored the dunes at Coney beach and the views from Rest Bay right down to Newton.  I have tried to capture my love of enormous, powerful waves by setting them against back drops that reflect the beaches I have passed.  I have a selection of framed original paintings that I hope give a sense of some private and public spaces around Porthcawl.  The colours are often reflecting the weather at the time and the misty suggestion of buildings that form the Porthcawl coastline.  There are one or two images that reflect the journey from Ogmore by Sea and the stunning countryside that we pass as we approach.  I just wanted to invite you to notice some of the things that made me want to paint and suggest something about the lovely surroundings we have.

This exhibition is an exploration, an interpretation and a window.  It is the work of an explorer who wanted to look inside and up and down and under.  There are so many other paintings I still want to paint and sketches to prepare.  It is just the start of a new collection, I hope.  I was recently at the Royal Academy summer exhibition in London where the colours and compositions were hugely inspiring and they have already begun to influence some of the paintings you are viewing.

 I hope there is something here for everyone and if not please tell me about places you would like to see painted and paintings you would like to have adorning your walls.  Commissions are always welcome.

Many Thanks,

Francine

Interpretations of the Welsh coastline

BY
FRANCINE DAVIES
8TH JULY – 27TH JULY 2014

St Donats Art Gallery,  St Donats, Vale of Glamorgan

Like many self-taught artists I rejoice in a lack of barriers and boundaries and see painting as a means of self-expression and exploration.  Furthermore, whilst respecting the chosen mediums and their limitations I feel I work them until the point of exhaustion.  I paint with great vigour and with a certain confidence so that the most significant thing for me is perspective, not solely in terms of vanishing points but as a point of view, a prospect, a statement in itself.   As an art tutor and lecturer the concept of perspective guides all of my work and art.

With a degree in Geography and Geology I am drawn to exposed landscapes and enjoy an enormous sense of freedom where land and sea meet and thus have tendency to focus on this area in my painting.  Interestingly, on thinking of the sea the viewer may expect to witness calm vistas that ease the mind but more often than not the viewer is faced with powerful waves and rugged rocks.  Such a contradiction can be explained best by considering the sensory explosion that consumes me as I have enormous respect for the sea; the adrenalin rush evoked by the waves as they form, crash and draw back with tremendous noise and spray.

I am fascinated with detail, not photographic detail, but rather intense impressionistic details that enable the viewer to feel that they are experiencing the scene in some way.  As my confidence has grown this intensity has developed a more restrained outcome.  It is very pleasing when a viewer is heard saying they want to touch the scene and can almost feel the sea spray or the abrasive texture of the rocks.  This interaction between the viewer and myself is as rewarding as the capturing of the energy in my work.

Thank you for visiting.

Francine

Impressions of The Heritage Coastline. 

September 2016, St Donats Art Gallery, St Donats, Vale of Glamorgan

By 

Francine Davies

In the two years since my last exhibition I have made the time to look harder at the surrounding environment and explore new and exciting ways of translating my perspective in to art.  I have been privileged to have such a supportive family without whom I don’t believe the results would be as satisfying.  I have also been fortunate to have met many inspiring folk along the way and would like to thank friends and colleagues at Cowbridge Community College and Crafts by The Sea who have helped me explore new techniques and helped me enjoy the new possibilities that come from experimentation and feeling part of a network of likeminded people.  I believe the overall content of this latest exhibition is a direct result of having this backdrop against which to stand tall.

This exhibition is a reflection of the freedom that has come from experimenting relentlessly with new and old techniques and materials until satisfied that I had found ways of translating a more inland environment in to paintings that I felt were worthy of viewing.  In fact, the endless possibilities that have emerged for me as an artist can explain why there are so many pieces in this exhibition.   I hope that as you travel through the ink drawings to the larger canvases you will feel you are walking down a familiar road.  I have thoroughly enjoyed capturing some of the incidental, yet striking scenery, that many of us have the privilege of passing on a regular basis as we go home or about our work.  The collection of paintings and drawings reflect not just the landscape I love but also those moments that I hold dear.  I refer to the early evening walk on a Saturday night, destination “The Cups”, or a spontaneous family walk all the way to “The Plough and Harrow”.  Not all of the walks involve pubs but it is good to have a destination!  The images capture those wonderful moments when we are reminded by the local sheep that we are missing so much until we are made to stop, watch and chuckle as they go about their day.  It is not only reflected in the content of the pictures but also in the light and chosen colour of the skies or the water.  I really hope that you enjoy your trip around this truly stunning landscape.

Thank you for visiting.

Francine