Ian Davenport & The Simpsons

18 - 26 April 2008

Davenport likes the Simpsons, but not necessarily in the same way as the rest of us - he sees something else there which is more often taken for granted. The expression and relationship of colour is central to his work, and as he described in an interview with artist and writer David Batchelor in 2003, the sourcing of colour from the world around him is an integral part of what makes the paintings come into being - be that the hard and shiny shades of urban life on the streets around his home and studio in East London or, in this instance, the candy-coloured vibrancy of his favourite cartoon.


The new painting shown here was, like all Davenport's work, the result of a very physical process: part painting, part performance. The paint is poured from plastic syringes in tiny rivers down the picture's surface creating a shimmering wall of colours. Put into words it sounds like a simple sequence and the resulting paintings with their seductive shine certainly have an immediate appeal. But they are also more complex than such a basic explanation suggests. Central to their success is the point at which they nearly go wrong: the tension of a line where two colours meet, one threatening to consume the other. They have the presence and power to transform the room they inhabit, giving a different perspective on the space that surrounds them. In homage to Homer et al, the painting was hung on a wall painted the same colour as the Springfield sky, with Davenport's favourite episode playing on a loop on the wall opposite.