COLIN DAVIDSON, Transmission
Oliver Sears Gallery is pleased to announce the first solo exhibition of recent paintings by Belfast born artist Colin Davidson. Having shifted away from urban landscape painting some three years ago, Davidson has since concentrated on large scale portraits. Some subjects are recognizable figures in the public eye, others are unknown. The large format (roughly 4ft square) creates an instant shock to the viewer. We are simply not used to seeing a face ten times life size at close quarters. But the term portraiture sits uneasily with the artist. The broad brushstrokes and impasto recall Lucian Freud’s dry application and Jenny Saville’s scale and structure. For Davidson there is no doubt that there is a landscape quality to these works. In the figurative sense that Brian Friel and other famous Irish subjects, are part of the landscape, but also in a more visual sense. Close inspection conjures aspects of terrain, hills, rivers, paths perhaps. The works are very complex. As with all formal portraiture at least three dynamics impose on the canvas. What the sitter brings, what the artist brings and what happens when they meet. The complexities are amplified on the large format not so much in the magnified intensity of photorealism but more in the emotional drama of grand opera. Included in the exhibition are small format paintings and works on paper, studies for the larger works. Looser in style they compliment the formal works perfectly.
Since graduating with a first class honours degree from the Art and Design Faculty at the University of Ulster in 1991, Colin Davidson has exhibited extensively in London, New York, Milan and across Ireland. He has been shown regularly at the Royal Hibernian Academy Annual Exhibition, where he has twice won awards, and has been an Academician of the Royal Ulster Academy since 2006, having won the R.U.A. Gold Medal three times and the Silver Medal twice.
Colin Davidson's work is in public and corporate collections across Ireland, including the Arts Council for Northern Ireland, the BBC, the National Self-Portrait Collection of Ireland, Limerick, the Office of Public Works Collection, Ireland, the Law Society of Ireland and Queen's University, Belfast. A selection of portraits of writers and actors from Colin's latest body of work is presently on display in the newly-reopened Lyric Theatre, Belfast.