Six questions for
Jack Davey

Tique asks six questions to an artist about their work and inspiration.
This week: Jack Davey

Artist Jack Davey
Lives in Somerset, England


How do you describe your own art practice? 

I am a sculptor and work primarily with textiles although I have also explored painting, drawing, video, performance and sound as part of some larger installations. My practice is physical and emotional and deals with the complexities of the human character. I try to make conscious, emotionally charged objects in space.

Which question or theme is central in your work?

There are two central themes that run through my work: The first deals with my obsession with shit and the digestive system; an intelligent organism that is a map to our physical and mental wellbeing; viewing shit as a physical emission of our emotions. The second is of Archaeological totems and sites of prehistoric human activity. Monoliths. 

Fundamentally, I aim to dissect, analyse and re-build these elements (conceptually and formally; sculpturally) to create a new allegorical language. Within this, exploring themes of sexual frustration and desire, anger, ritual, material form, subconscious writing and hidden messages. Sexualised totems of the self. Conscious monoliths. 

What was your first experience with art?

Being partially deaf as a child, I navigated/related the world through images and touch so reading images and conveying emotion through image has always made sense to me. I remember sitting in art class at school aged 13/14 and having this overwhelming feeling that this is what I would do for the rest of my life and that it would keep me safe. I have experienced a lot but everything has inevitably led back to art. 

What is your greatest source of inspiration?

Every time I take on a new work it changes. I’m incredibly hands-on so inspiration largely comes from being in physical contact and playing with materials. Making tests, making mistakes, re-working etc. Understanding and pushing my physical limitations. That combined with more conscious research – drawing, artists research, reading, music, mysticism etc – creating a dialogue between the two and constantly searching for both physical and conceptual tension. And of course, when I’m not in the village, spending time with friends and loved ones…

What do you need in order to create your work?

To create my work, I need discipline and quiet. I actively don’t use social media. Having lived in Antwerp, Belgium for 10 years, I moved back to the UK in 2019. The move was a conscious choice to dedicate my time, exclusively, to my artistic practice. I wake up every single day, go for a walk and then go to my studio. Having that sense of discipline has been massively beneficial to both my mental and physical health and in turn my creative output. It has given me a total sense of empowerment and autonomy over my work without any external or superficial distractions. The last two years have been challenging but unbelievably productive.

What work or artist has most recently surprised you? 

Although very familiar with his work, a few weeks ago in London there was a 2-day, 9-hour screening of Matthew Barneys Cremaster Cycle. Screenings are very rare so I jumped at the opportunity and it didn’t disappoint; it was both overwhelmingly beautiful and disturbing. Otherwise I am really interested in the work of the London-based performance duo New Noveta; besides their physical presence, their ability to occupy space with sound and emotion is of great interest to me.  

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