Wednesday, 16 November 2016

No Niceties - Contributing Artist - Susie Davies

"When I first saw Helen’s publication in the Newbridge Bookshop I was really drawn to it, for its beautiful pages of unique background illustration and diagrams. Then, when I learnt of Helen’s call for artists to respond to the book I was even more intrigued. Reading the poems left me thinking about the beauty of the mundane, something I have always tried to point to in my own work.

The book, to me, is a celebration of everyday awkwardness. I was particularly charmed by ‘As planned’, the third text in the collection, in which two characters, who I interpret as parents, pay a visit to the narrator. The pair are so bent on not causing any trouble that they for example drink from their ‘flask of tea... It would save washing up.’ They ‘had bought their own packed lunch’ and refuse any other offer of food. This forced politeness paradoxically makes the meeting increasingly uncomfortable, which escalates up to a peak of unbearable awkwardness as the male character ‘uses the cling film from his sandwich to wrap around the core of his apple and chocolate bar wrapper, and put back in the bag’.

This is a notion which I find subtle and comical, yet makes so clear how the couple are desperate not to be of trouble or even to leave a trace of their presence, rather than just using the narrator’s own bin.

I tried to hint at this tension in my response to Helen’s publication by referencing the mundane, everyday surroundings of the poems such as the ‘potted plants’ in ‘You Knew What to Expect’. I however used sharp, angular shapes to reference the constant strain between characters. My materials played a role in my response- I used thin writing paper combined with perspex, which the viewer peers through, because as a reader I often felt like the spectator spying through a window on these relatable scenes."

Susie Davies has just started studying for a BA Hons in Fine Art at Newcastle University, having completed her foundation year at Camberwell School of Art.

Her previous work has been much inspired by the changing environment of south London - specifically the mysterious sense of history in certain buildings.

More recently she had begun to pay attention to the relationship between language and art, most lately in sculpture-based work.

Her parents both being writers, literature has always played a huge part of her life and in future work she hopes to develop this enriching, sometimes comical presence of words in her art.

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