Jo Davenport’s lyrical oil paintings inhabit a liminal resting place between real, imagined and remembered landscapes. In the works, space is not defined by perspectival and physical strictures but conceived as personal constellations of identity. Functioning as portraits as much as they are landscapes, the works map the emotional physiognomy of place.
Through visceral layers of oil, intuitive mark making and refined erasure, Davenport summons the ‘spirit’ of places from her personal history; specifically the Murray River region. Her mnemonic and tectonic approach spawns an abstraction that evokes fragmented residues from the past. For Davenport, returning to certain landscapes conjures revenant specters of their former life. Sheer swathes of ghostly oil screening distant forms evoke presences from the past, while ‘grids’ of paint drips are like the membranes of memory that filters perception. Each painting conjures a specific time of day and season, fossilising these moments whilst also revealing the brevity of time, of life. Instead of dwelling on grand Romantic narratives surrounding the sublimity of nature, the paintings ultimately form gentler contemplations of the fragility and intimacy of the landscape. We are presented with sensual perceptions of place filtered through a decidedly feminine lens tempered with maternal modalities of creation and nurture.