No art is any good unless you can see how it's been put together
- Frank Stella
The RYDER is pleased to present a solo show by artist Mark Davey.
Introducing a new body of work, the exhibition draws attention into the performativity and sensuality of his machines. Working with industrial materials and mechanical systems, technology is here devoid of all function, instead engaging in the vocabulary of seduction. Everything is constructed with the language of industry, but speaks of humanity, sensuality and relationships.
In its formal integrity, Mark Davey’s work denotes an internal coherence and harmony – every bolt, weld or sand mark is on display and serves a purpose. Frank Stella’s principle of an 'honest construction' of the work is at the heart of Mark Davey’s practice and finds its correlation in the human and physical connotations present in all his works. This transparency both in the process of creation and the visibility of the employed mechanisms allows us to see the vulnerable side of each work; the element that holds it or makes it move. There is an intention of exposing the instability of these objects and, in doing so, they perform as metaphors for human fragility.
Davey challenges the interaction between work and viewer. The work ‘Us’ situates two identical motors next to one another, their metal arms triggering the repetitive sideways movement of two fluorescent tube lights. Here the object is in motion, almost humanised by the spectacle of its movement. The hypnotic repetition of the lights, the one in sync with the other, reminds us of the duality present in Felix Gonzalez Torres’s Perfect Lovers where two office clocks run at the same time. The tube lights, like the hands of the clocks, are pushed into a new relationship beyond the viewer, the use of duality creating a dialogue of tenderness and intimacy between these machines.
Movement and interaction is again present in Davey’s 'Untitled (stainless steel Panel)' series, composed of panels with functionless metal objects attached to the surface. One object, a circular ring, echoes the discoid patterns etched into the metal’s surface, created by an angle grinder being dragged across the panels, engraving the trace of Davey’s movement into the material. The physical interaction between artist and object is visible through these traces, but the performativity of the work is perpetuated through the relationship between these panels and the tube lights. The lights reflect intermittently against the engraved steel, illuminating only particular strips of the surface at any given time; the work teases the viewer through controlling the visibility of the human trace left on the surface, engaging in a language of seduction and intimacy with the onlooker.
Mark Davey (born in Bristol, 1985) lives and works in London. Graduated from the Slade school of Fine Art in 2008 he then gained an MA in Sculpture from the Royal College of Art in 2012. He is the winner of the Saatchi New Sensations 2009 and has exhibited widely across the UK including solo shows at Backlit Gallery, Nottingham and William Bennington Gallery, London. His works have been shown at the Royal British Society of Sculptors, London; Two Queens, Leicester; Saatchi New Sensations, London; Simon Oldfield Gallery, London; Art 15, London.