Angelina May Davis : P.A.L
& Norton & Sons
The 1970’s were an era where exposure to television was a deliberate and shared experience. At this time the UK had three channels; BBC1, BBC2 and ITV, the VCR was not available to a domestic market and television ownership reached 97.5% by 1979. Davis’ recollection of TV as a child is cited as one of the earliest influences and interest in narrative, she describes this narrative as slow, deliberate and awkward with gaps or intermissions, space to speculate, to change channel up close to the screen (television remote controls were an 1980’s update.) There are strong associations that one has with a particular visual form from a dimly remembered past. We respond to the world through internalized colour memories and visual languages; In Davis’ case; a world mediated through a small family television set using the Phase Alternating Line (PAL) system which had a resolution of 625 lines and a very particular chroma and aesthetic.
In recent work Davis is revisiting the rural English landscape of the 1970’s, fabricating landscapes from multiple sources including recollection, old television footage, site visits, plein air drawing and found imagery.
At odds with the political unrest of the 1970’s Davis’ landscapes are seemingly benign, perhaps depicturing an idea of Englishness, that can have an uncomfortable association in contemporary British life. Real, remembered or imagined, a closer look at Davis’ landscapes reveal nods to a burgeoning class consciousness and the collapse of modernity, one such trope is Davis’ ambiguous claustrophobic compositions, a refusal to leave the confines of a place where the imagining happens (nd), in her youth it was the front room where she watched TV with her family, here, now her paintings often feature the artist’s studio interior that reveal the good stuff, the edges and hidden space.
Norton & Sons
Division of Labour and Norton & Sons are proud to present Restoration, a new series of
paintings by the artist Angelina May Davis.
In recent work Davis is revisiting the rural English landscape of the 1970's, she is ‘Restoring’
the Elm, a tree that has been decimated by Dutch Elm disease in the artist's lifetime.
By fabricating new landscapes, taking images from multiple sources including old television
footage, site visits, plein air drawing and found imagery, her work uses the English Elm as a
symbol for a lost (or a fetishized) idea of England. Historically, the Elm features in the history
of Savile Row and Mayfair, woodland and reports of fruit trees were once found on this site,
prior to a 32 acre purchase by the Merchant Tailor, William Maddox in 1622.
At around the same time, the 17th century saw landscape painting gaining more prominence
and weight in Europe, as the discipline challenged the hierarchy of portraiture and religious
and mythological allegory. Poussin would entertain a new British mobility amongst the
aristocracy and their love of the Grand Tour making way for the movements Rococo and