A Work of Art: crossing the boundary from craft to conceptual…

Artist John Davenport takes us behind-the-scenes for a look at the inspiration behind the creation of his work in this year’s Members and Associates Exhibition…

The exhibition runs until December 24.

Once a year a group of friends take a week’s art holiday in Bromyard. We take it in turns to lead a session in what is a very varied program.

Sometimes we have invited session leaders. Paul Hipkiss, Colin Simmonds and Carole Baker have all inspired us in the past. On one session this year my daughter Sarah introduced us to felting and so I transposed into felt a painting I had previously done of Little Froome farm where we were staying. My original painting was influenced by Kyffin Williams with his simple agricultural buildings appearing to grow from the surrounding rugged terrain.

John Davenport

I decided to enter this work for the Members and Associates Exhibition because I am interested in the distinction, if any, between art and craft. Felting tends to be regarded as a craft and so at the RBSA would typically appear in the craft gallery on the ground floor rather than in the Members and Associates exhibition.

One definition which attempts to differentiate between art and craft is that in the case of craft the makers know the endpoint before they begin, whereas with art artists haven’t the foggiest idea of what the completed work will be like when they start.  So this rather conventional landscape of Little Froome Farm could be regarded as a conceptual piece!

It is sometimes said that there is a danger in artists spreading themselves too thinly by diversifying into too many different media and becoming master of none. For myself, I’m happy to take the risk as I find exploring new media such as the felt in this case very refreshing. This rekindles my artistic energy and enthusiasm which is particularly important for somebody who is usually confined to the relatively rigid tramlines of portraiture.

 

You can view more of the art on display at the Members and Associates Exhibition by visiting our Flickr page. Be sure to visit the Gallery, too, where our staff will be happy to help!

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