Greg Davie’s “Bestiary”
Sunday, May 7 – Sunday, June 18
Opening Reception Sunday, May 7, 2 – 4 pm
Bestiary is an exhibition of select paintings and drawings from two series of works by the Niagara-based artist, Greg Davies. Silverpoint, watercolour and pastel paintings and drawings from his Sanibel series (2015) – depicting animal subjects native to the Florida Gulf Coast island identified in the title – draw upon the 19th-century visual style of John James Audubon and Martin Johnson Heade, as well as first-hand observation.
Oil paintings from the artist’s Memento Mori series (2015 – present) add a counterpoint, taking inspiration largely from the art of the Baroque and Romantic periods. The animals depicted in these paintings represent threatened, endangered or extinct species: victims of environmental damage, poaching, hunting, finning and whaling. The works exhibit traces of 17th-century tenebrist painting and the influence of 18th– and 19th-century compositions by Francisco Goya and John Singleton Copley, amongst others. In this respect, they recall works which were contrived to move the viewer to reflect upon matters both spiritual and sublime. As the title declares they are ‘reminders of death’: not only reminders of the passing of those species we threaten, but of our own mortality and the loss we inflict upon ourselves through our troubled relationship with the natural world.
About the Artist
Greg Davies is figurative artist who works with oil on canvas, watercolours, graphite, silverpoint, pastels and mixed media on paper. He produces works in series in order to explore subjects thematically and stylistically:
“In my work I draw upon historic styles and past modes of representation as a means of presenting and interpreting contemporary subject matter. This impulse stems, in part, from a belief in the sustainability of old styles. The visual references in my paintings and drawings are equally informed by my background in the field of art history.”
Currently the administrator of the Carnegie Gallery in Dundas, Ontario, Greg Davies holds an MA in art history from the University of Toronto where he has also taught courses in Renaissance and Baroque art. From 2002 – 2014 he taught art history at McMaster University as both a lecturer and assistant professor. His past courses have also included Renaissance and Baroque classes conducted in Florence, Venice, Siena and Rome.