Jack Davidson’s paintings are humble, from their mid-scale size and lightweight stretcher bars to their enigmatic lowercase titles. The paint handling is purposefully inconspicuous, like the uninflected voice of a realist novelist. Davidson wants to show what happens when a painter refrains from using all the jaw-dropping tricks we associate with paint. No sfumato or chiaroscuro, no pentimenti, no scraping, squeegying or thick repainting, no veiled glazes or mimesis. Just shape, line, and color. it's as if once he decides what to paint, he puts the paint on the canvas with little fuss. Davidson has a minimalist’s restraint: he doesn’t want to transform the paint into something other than what it is. Yet the color is pronounced, hovering on the border between bold seventies graphics, eighties pomo design, and Easter pastel.
[Image at top: Jack Davidson, i want to lead the sporting life, 2014, oil on canvas, 45x63.75 inches.]