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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Monday, September 23, 2002
    The hand of the artist
    The winner of the second John Moores exhibition, in 1959, William Scott's Blue Abstract grabbed me at The Walker today. I wondered why - its title describes it, it's big, deep, dark, decribed by the gallery as narrow in tonal range, sombre in atmosphere, and rich in textural variation. Maybe it reflected how I felt (it being a blue Monday). Possibly it went deeper; perhaps that description describes me? More probably - this may be the crux - it comes down to football. It's a great Everton blue.

    I enjoyed this year's John Moores exhibition, Peter Davies's winner [detail left, full image here] for its colours and its playful idea - its a 'mind-map', the sort of thing that makes you want to design your own. His is a mind map of the connections he makes around Andy Warhol. Watch this space for my mind map around, perhaps, Andy Gray.

    Lots of colour in this exhibition - nice, bright, sometimes daring colour. Michael Ward's Pandemonium is a riot ; but in the end the one which most fascinated me was Ian Davenport's Untitled Circle Painting (red and deep pink), [right] a 122cm square of household paint on MDF - but so finely honed.

    I was drawn in by the detail - looking at the lines of 'run' paint I couldn't work out how he'd done it - they run in different directions and overlap in different ways. I was drawn by the colour too - red but not LFC red. Now here's a thing. In an interview sampled on the online catalogue Davenport deviates from the temptation to waffle about his work, acknowledges instead the pleasure he gets from "the activity of making", from pouring or dripping paint, and says, "The hand of the artistÉ [is] like scoring a goal."