Amanda Davies works are like no others, and yet, they are indebted to others more deeply than most. Seldom does one encounter a painter so thoroughly aware of the tropes and treacheries of paintings’ chequered history. The same can be said of Davies’ attention to writing, drawing, photography, and performance practices. Virginia Woolf, Lygia Clark, Cindy Sherman, and the lesser known Dorothy Stoner—that slice of Viennese Actionism that is as famous for prison terms as for exhibitable “works.” Davies, like her constellation of reference points, is truly an avant-garde artist, informed and affected by all that has come before in her demand for something else.
It is this else that is most often spoken of in an encounter with Davies’ works—this unspeakable, uncomfortable, unpredictable, transgressive other—an unheimlich haunting that is howling from deeper within the spectator than perhaps the painter. Because these are not self-portraits so much as else-portraits. The else is political, it is personal, it is sometimes painful and other times darkly humorous. It is a complex inversion of the status quo, an uneasy and unintuitive turning deathwards, some consumptive tropism. The chaste veil is suddenly suffocating plastic, the domestic band aid is a carelessly plastered, deidentifying mask, the humble potato is a bulging, distended organ, the pressures of the gaze becoming the pressures of the underground, of all the soil and of all of the earth. It is warm and dark under your skin where Davies’ works will inevitably reside.
Attaining a BFA Honours from the Tasmanian School of Art, University of Tasmania, Hobart in 2003, Davies has undertaken numerous residencies, most recently the Australian Council of the Arts, Rome Residency (2013). Exhibitions include: Disquiet, ANCA Gallery, Canberra, ACT (2014), The Brassington Affair, Plimsoll Gallery, Tasmanian College of the Arts, Hobart, TAS (2014); and Purge, Cross Art Projects, Sydney, NSW (2012).