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Roger Davies

Roger Davies

Roger Davies is a contemporary abstract and semi-abstract painter, based in Cheltenham, England. Born 1938 in Neath, South Wales, Roger was educated at Lancing College before attending Swansea Art School 1956-57 and then Chelsea School of Art 1957-61. At Chelsea, he was not only fortunate enough to study under Ceri Richards, Elizabeth Frink, Prunella Clough and Jack Smith, but also painted alongside the likes of Pat Caulfield as fellow students. He also studied privately under Dame Laura Knight.

From 1956 - 1972, Roger was a highly regarded, full time contemporary painter, working from his studio

in South Wales and exhibiting both locally and in London, for example at the Young Contemporaries and with numerous paintings selected for the Redfern Summer Exhibition.

A change of direction and personal circumstances in the early 1970s led to Roger taking a long break from painting, but his creative activity remained prolific during this period, with a successful career as an industrial designer, working primarily on armoured fighting vehicles, and 12 years working in silver, during which he produced, among many other items, a ciborium for the church in Llantwit Major, South Wales; the Dean's Scholars choristers' medallions for Llandaff Cathedral; and a ceremonial silver and jewelled assegai for H.M Goodwill Zwelethini - the King of the Zulus. He also produced many pieces of sculptural jewellery.

After a number of years running his own gallery for contemporary ceramics, jewellery and crafts, Roger returned full time to his art in 1997. Now painting full time from his studio in Cheltenham, England, Roger Davies holds a body of work for sale at his studio, exhibits in galleries in England and Wales and takes commissions directly.

Earlier Career Exhibitions

  • Young Contemporaries, London
  • Howard Roberts Gallery, Cardiff
  • Turner Gallery, Penarth
  • South Wales Group (Arts Council Prize (1963)
  • Dillwyn (Attic) Gallery, Swansea
  • Bristol Arts Centre
  • South Wales Group - Many Galleries
  • R.B.A. London
  • Various other Galleries in England & Wales

Recent Exhibitions

  • Now back in the Attic after 53 years
  • Albany Gallery, CardiffMartin Tinney Gallery, Cardiff
  • Kooywood Gallery, Cardiff
  • Thomas Plunkett Gallery, St Albans
  • Montpellier Gallery, Stratford-upon-Avon
  • Hadfield Fine Art, Cheltenham
  • The Gardens Gallery, Cheltenham

Works in Public & Private Collections, including:

• Welsh Arts Council
• Contemporary Arts Society, Wales • National Library of Wales
• University of Wales
• Neath/Port Talbot Borough Council • Private Collections

Thoughts on Recent Work

I have always been a 'Colourist' with a particular leaning towards blues and reds. Originally inspired by the smelting furnaces in the South Wales steel works, I have produced abstract and semi- abstract works throughout my career, from industrial subject matter through landscapes and still lives.

Perhaps it is with maturity in years that most artists return to the landscape to express their vision and interpretation. Decades of observation draw them to a cthonic subject matter rather than the often contradictory and questioning contents of their inner feelings and memories. From an almost radical abstraction of my earlier years emerges often a new romantic semi-abstraction to be found in the natural and wonderful landscapes that surround us every day.

I find in my recent paintings a sense of this wonder, whether it be in the glacial stony memories of our forefathers on the Welsh hill forts, in the small lakes that dot our country, or in the radically different landscapes of Australia or the Greek Islands, where blinding sunlight and cobalt sea, sky and shadows also impose their own natural abstraction. I certainly cannot conceive of a time when such images fail to fascinate and demand attention.

Transferring one's artistic intent from decades of disciplined semi-abstract to landscape is not as radical as it seems. Within the imagery of landscape the abstract is endemic. Less so, perhaps among the bucolic, but when the muscles and sinews of nature are exposed in massive rock formations, wild rushing water or black groping tree branches, one is conscious of the life cycle of nature starkly visible to all. It is these elements in particular I wish to observe and exploit. The relationship between growth and decline often gives rise to the wonderful, the dramatic and occasionally, the grotesque as trees cling to life, rocks

grind and tumble and mighty water forces its way between all, to finally lie flat and calm to mirror raw nature around its perimeter. The shapes we see are dictated by the inner workings of the earth; what Dylan Thomas called 'the green fuse'.

In 2017, I started working on a series of paintings in miniature. Taking a literary source for my inspiration, I am following a direction that I would term “Narrative Abstract.” As ever, composition and colour are central to my work, but I started using gold leaf as an additional element, even as a colour. This series is based on ‘The Epic of Gilgamesh’, one of the earliest discovered literary works in history. The paintings are produced in acrylic and oil glaze, with 23 carat gold leaf on heavy paper.



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