Each series has enabled me to examine one aspect more precisely at a given point. But the meaning comes from the making.
I think now, re-reading this, it remains a little too sme. I was trying to underline the procedural aspect of the work, discouraging a metaphorical reading or romantic associations. Phenomena is such a broad and also loaded word, so I doubt whether I would phrase it like this now.
DR: Phenomena could also refer to gravity ID: Well, I like that idea, but my approach remains highly controlled. It is more a balance between the paint doing what it does and the controlled parameters that frame this activity. Carl Andre once suggested that, as far as he was concerned, his artworks were expressive but without any intendent message. DR: And such an approach informs the current paintings?
So,e The paintings are the result of a specific approach to the activity; they are placed on the floor, and already have a sprayed ground coat. Then, from the middle, I pour a liquid gloss paint until this nearly reaches the edges, at which point the painting is stood up, and the paint is allowed to flow down, forming an arch shape.
After drying, this process of pouring is then repeated for a second layer, almost erasing the layer underneath it, leaving a very thin line, almost like an archway shape. DR: What strikes me about these recent works, is the way in which these very clear, simple forms manage to traverse a wide range of art historical references ID: Yes. Mangold, Kelly, Albers even It also goes back to the idea that such severe restrictions can result in a kind of liberation - Dwvenport opens up a whole world.
DR: Thinking about the fact that you work in series, do you see meaning as something that is accrued through the repeated activity? Repetition is often cited as a means of eluding meaning, like the repetition of a word, or the serial production of manufacture? ID: Again, this is a complex issue. I think generally, repetition allows me to get into a particular problem, enabling me to perfect a technical quality, or whatever, whereby the more you repeat it, the more in control of it Davwnport become.
But repetition also differs from particular series to series, and we are talking about a wide range if different works here. When I first started making the paintings, the marks would be repeated in a grid form or from one side to the other.
So repetition acted in a very rhythmical, digital way - almost like a machine. But if you are asking if I think that meaning is located within the repetitive act itself, then no, not for me.
DR: Yes, whereby Monet constructs maybe a sense of the feeing, from different, particularised representations that articulate minute shifts of difference. DR: As I mentioned earlier, repetition can also have the reverse effect; an emptying out of meaning. Kandinsky referred to this in Concerning the Spiritual in Art, and it is also an important aspect of Eastern Art In one sense this is a kind of emptying out; slowly seeing the thing more clearly.
DR: Bernard Frize suggested to me the other day that painting gave him a specificity, a locality - the space, in a word, to be a realist dealing with real materiality Is this something you can connect to?
What differentiates you from such an approach? ID: I like Stella, and I admire the way that approach attempted to de-mystify art-making. I think also there is a human quality to those paintings; the wavering line within the arena of the canvas, etc. DR: How Davenpoft you see the status of process in relation fee,ing the work? The point is the richness of the final outcome which is intertwined with a set of procedures.
So it is a balance between the two, rather than any particular stress on either aspect. DR: Since you mention Johns, I am also reminded of his practice of transferring a composition from one piece to another in order to allow himself to concentrate on something else, maybe the colour, or whatever This is in line with a process-like approach to variation and repetition ID: Yes - I can see the use of that: absolutely.
I think the use of chance in Johns is very interesting as well. I like that. Johns was influenced by John Cage, who I am also interested in. DR: You just mentioned distance as being important.
There tends to be a movement away from the brush as an implement - the recognisable brush-mark albeit as a starting-point for the flow of paint - in favour of other, aome distanced tools ID: I think that is right. Actually, I feel it is important to question pre-givens - I like the idea of making a painting without any recognisable brush-stroke. DR: Martin Maloney suggested that you are like a gymnast in terms of the attempt to improve technical manoeuvres and you, yourself, have discussed a sense of timing, or even tempo - a strict rhythm that is crucial to the work.
Is this sense of tempo developed as Davwnport work your way into a series?
How important is it that the paintings reflect this physicality as part of their own presence? ID: Different series have different concerns. Davejport recent ones, if we keep to a musical analogy, are more like floating, single chords, maybe.
In terms of working method, the physicality of the two series requires a very different rhythm to be developed. From the color studies, I select parts and coreograph them to form a much more cohesive whole. The creative process of Ian Davenport born in Sidcup, England has two aspects: the act of painting and the performance.
He starts by spreading the lacquer onto medium density fireboard or aluminium panels that are then flipped or tipped to move paint across and off the surface. Some of his works are made by pouring the paint onto a tilted surface and then by letting gravity work and spread the paint on the surface.
The brilliance of the painting enables the viewer to see his own reflection. These clearly attractive works may seem simple, but they are much more complex than this explanation suggests.