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More than in any other area of the arts, sculptors in the last 20 years have rethought their work in relation to discussions about the rise and fall of Modernism and Postmodernism. Here the boundaries between 2-D and 3-D, or the concept and the object, are constantly blurred.
To Errol Davis, sculpture is a happy blurring of object and poetry. In an often confusing visual world of conceptual puns and gimmicky one-liners, it is refreshing to find a sculptor such as Davis, who is so obviously rooted in an age-long practice of art as an object. Davis' sculptures in stainless steel, metal and bronze are also about new technical innovations and here lies a tension, an essential ingredient in any lasting quality.
From an early age, Davis had an interest in building models. In fact he established a business specialising in scale models. One of his clients was Macquarie University. His strong need to make objects soon found a voice in his much more substantial sculptures. Here his training as an engineer came to the fore. From working with models to the cutting out of relief maps in plywood grew the finely worked out contours in stainless steel. With Davis' discovery of the laser cutting machine, he gave new life to his sculptures through the flexibility and strength of the stainless steel. He devised a way of fanning out each form with such delicacy to appear like the pages of a book, creating light and air between each page.
Davis' sculptures breathe the environment. His observations of the contour of the land, of the patterning of a leaf or the way a plant grows adds the essential ingredient to his work - poetry. He believes that sculpture is a link to poetry, with poetry and rhythm being common to both art forms. Davis' interest in nature, coupled with the multitude of ways he could manipulate his contours, meant he is working in a way and with a material like no other artist in Australia.
We are all recipients of Davis' foresight and altruism. His vision of the Macquarie University Sculpture Park has opened out to the community a thousand ways of appreciating sculpture; it has created a University gallery and a curator and a new department. Thank you Errol Davis.
I wish to show my sincere gratitude to all those whose encouragement and forbearance have given me support in the preparation of my work for this Retrospective exhibition, especially to Peter Stanbury, Rhonda Davis and Kirri Hill, and to Effy Alexakis, Michelle Wilson and Mario Bianchino, all from Macquarie University.
A big special thank you to Di Yerbury, whose years of support have given me confidence in my work, and indeed without whom I could never have made it as far as this.
Thank you to all gallery and administration staff at Macquarie University who helped to make this Retrospective exhibition a realisation.
And finally, my thanks and appreciation is extended to my family who have supported me throughout my career.
- Errol Davis.
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