Julie Davidson's highly representational and formally rigorous paintings position themselves within a broadly pluralistic, contemporary interest in both the literal and existential. Behind the modest restraint of each of her subjects – cloth, vessel, fruit and plant – an interrogation is being set up between perceptions of the domestic and ritual, the banal and cherished. Each object sits in a state of simple repose, open to the scrutiny of the gaze. Beyond their assumed solidity and uniqueness – their truthfulness – they also serve to pay witness to a more transient, shifting state of mind.
Amidst the stillness of foliage and fabric, it is the dappled effect of bright sunlight that interrupts an otherwise static scene. Here light becomes a pervasive agent, used to activate something very much alive, penetrative and questioning. Its slow, haptic fall across the surface of each object gives a heightened sense of clarity to their otherwise imperceptible details. The eye lingers on the dying tips of leaves, the faint outline of an obscured table leg, the mottled shadow of an unseen tree canopy – each suggestive of the steadfast and earthbound reality of time beyond this resonate, halted moment.
Through the act of painting, the merest of things can be elevated to a state of veneration. Rather than being imbued with any emblematic or luxurious value, these objects are transformed into tools of meditation. They function as a means to sharpens the senses, forcing the viewer to take the time to observe with clarity.
In essence Davidson's work is searching for that elusive, fleeting experience of harmony and tranquillity. Her still life paintings aim to capture that unexpected instant in which time opens out and softens, bringing with it a spirit of balance between world and the self.
Phe Luxford 2013