Tim Davies is one of Wales’s leading artists and works in a range of different materials, including film, found imagery and sculpture.
Much of his work involves meticulous, repetitive and time-consuming actions. Pristine, orderly formalism is evident from early work through to more recent video installations, but the end result is often beguilingly simple, minimal and aesthetically beautiful. The labour-intensive process undertaken by Davies speaks loudly with a quiet voice.
Standing at Aberystwyth
© Tim Davies
Best known for his installations that challenge power structures and question the effects of colonial power and globalization, Davies once returned a Victorian parquet floor to the rainforest of Belize where the wood was ostensibly originally sourced and cut down by slaves. The resulting image of the wooden floor being reclaimed by nature spans time and place, connecting us to a deep memory.
The international curator and writer Declan McGonagle, who, along with Fumio Nanjo selected Davies for Artes Mundi 1 writes:
"Tim Davies is part of a constituency of artists, working transnationally, who are committed to ‘place’ but also function in the world, who do not prescribe our understanding nor privilege their own by adopting an avant-garde position. Davies works by unpicking the locks of human experience, from a position already beyond Modernism, rather than leading any sort of futile charge against it. He asks that we explore the nature and meaning of that experience with him. He also embodies, in his practice, a role for the artist which has both intimacy and, at the same time, the wider reach necessary to access the individual and collective public mind and it is this which makes it a new, necessary kind of ‘public’ art" (essay in The Butler Gallery’s Kilkenny Shift catalogue, 2009).
Kilkenny Shift, 2009, was a site-responsive work made for Kilkenny Castle in Ireland. The grey, grainy images of the projection reveal a staircase in the servants’ quarters of Kilkenny Castle which we imagine is in sharp contrast to the opulence of upstairs.
Figures, 2010, a recent bookwork and installation at Chapter, Cardiff, Wales documented the artist’s year-long contemplation of the use of photojournalistic images as a witness to local and global events within the print media. The trivial lies next to the brutal; the unusual alongside the usual; the ambiguous beside the unambiguous. Within a framework of 365 days Davies picked out the accompanying text, forming poetic lists on the gallery wall and forcing us to consider how we read and receive information in our daily lives.
Davies lives and works in Swansea, South Wales. An Arts Council of Wales Creative Wales Award recipient in 2008, he was short-listed for the inaugural Artes Mundi International Visual Arts Prize in 2004 and won the Gold Medal in Fine Art at the National Eisteddfod of Wales in 2003. Recent solo exhibitions include Kilkenny Shift (2009) at the Butler Gallery, Kilkenny, Ireland, Seeriad (2010) at Kunstihoone Galerii, Tallinn, Estonia and 50th Year to Heaven (2010) at Chapter, Cardiff in Wales.
The exhibition in Venice is curated by Tom Rowland of Tom Rowland Fine Art, a long-standing supporter of and collaborator with Davies.
Davies’ exhibition for Venice includes a range of new work produced specially for the Biennale.