Happily Difficult: Anthony Davies and the politics of print

Hanfling, Edward (2017) Happily Difficult: Anthony Davies and the politics of print. In: As the Situation Unfolds: Anthony Davies: A Survey of Works 2007-16. Hotspur Studios, Whanganui, pp. 15-21. ISBN 978-0-473-38792-1

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Edward Hanfling, "Happily Difficult: Anthony Davies and the politics of print", in Anthony Davies, "As the Situation Unfolds: Anthony Davies: A Survey of Works 2007-16", Whanganui: Hotspur Studio, 2017, pp. 15-21. Anthony Davies is an English-born New Zealand artist working primarily in printmaking media, including etching, woodcut, linocut, lithography and screen-printing. He moved to New Zealand in 1994 when he was artist-in residence at the Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland. His work is strongly based on social commentary, and often draws from images found in the news media. "As the Situation Unfolds: Anthony Davies: A Survey of Works 2007-16" is a 192-page book with essays by Leafa Wilson, Edward Hanfling, Maree Mills and Warren Feeney, designed by Greg Simpson. It was published in associatio with the Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato, coinciding with the exhibition "In My Lifetime: A second survey of works by Anthony Davies", 27 January - 19 March 2017. The "Wanganui Chronicle" published a story on the release of the book on 15 June 2017: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/wanganui-chronicle/midweek/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503658&objectid=11876699 The following is from the first paragraph of "Happily Difficult: Anthony Davies and the politics of print" (p. 15): "There is a certain simplicity about the process Anthony Davies follows to make art. He observes the world – both 'in the flesh' and through media such as newspapers and magazines – and from amongst all this stimulation, some images stick; they become drawings and ultimately printed images. This process is more complicated seen the other way around: Davies’ observations of the world are influenced, or indeed produced, by the images he has made throughout his life. And of course the art is part of the world and the world gets into the art. The images that permeate our existence – ones we see on computer or television screens, in magazines and advertisements and on packaging – are all products of aesthetic decisions and pictorial conventions. And they are political in that they reflect ideologies and agendas, commercial interests and consumer desires. Countless artists, too, give us images forged out of the raw material of the world-out-there, shaped into pictorial worlds that also encompass social and philosophical issues and concepts. All these images flying around and about us – yet we seem to find them, in general, relatively easy to navigate; they do not detain us. Why might Davies’ pictures be different? How are they difficult? Why do they matter? For one thing, their subject matter is rarely what one might normally describe as pleasant to behold. For another, it is not always crystal clear what we are looking at; lines, textures, forms or spaces shape and unsettle our understanding of the subject matter. Davies’ pictures do not offer instant gratification, or what British theorist Sara Ahmed describes as 'the promise of happiness'. They are, happily, time-consuming, not easy to consume."

Item Type:Book Section
Keywords that describe the item:New Zealand art, printmaking, art history
Subjects:N Fine Arts > NE Print media
Divisions:Schools > School of Media Arts
ID Code:5369
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Deposited On:31 Jul 2017 06:01
Last Modified:31 Jul 2017 06:01

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