While reading and looking, I was struck by the richness of her paintings – equally in terms of their spatial compression and otherwordliness, their conceptual meshing of the social and the romantic, manifest in montages of paint, printed fabric and careful embroidery – and decided to feature Rosalind’s excellent painting independently from her discussion of Core Gallery.
I am not the only one to be so impressed with Rosalind’s work:
"Rosalind Davis reveals herself to be a visionary artist of sensitivity and complexity… Her mixed media paintings of dystopian landscapes incorporate embroidery and floral-print textiles ….they conjure up a claustrophobic world of the uncanny."
(Andrew Bryant, a-n)
"With this inside/outside view of buildings, Rosalind almost supersedes the buildings themselves with the materials that could be seen on the inside. I have often seen this with demolished buildings, a set of fireplaces against the wall of the neighbouring building, remnants of wallpaper all that is left of a place that was a home."
(Julia Alvarez, Director of Bearspace)
I agree with Rosalind’s statement that her technique involves a reparative gesture, in the sense that (images of) disused or run-down buildings are mended and/or supported through stitching, as well as being somewhat transformed when their painted surfaces melt into, soak and stain the meticulously printed backdrop. That these are specific architectural structures recognisable only to local people is important, as is the artist’s painful observation of urban decay alongside an irrepressible romantic vision.
Thinking from my own standpoint as an art historian and artist, currently engaged in a study of Kleinian psychoanalytic subject positions, Rosalind’s works seem to rise from the depressive position, in which ambivalent encounters with reality are tested, dreams of (Utopian, urban) perfection mourned, and the objects and people we relate to eventually accepted as neither blissfully ideal, nor entirely harmful. Amongst other material clues, these paintings figure that struggle in terms of the stitch, a piercing, destructive action that is reformed, with practice, into the work of mending and strengthening.
A graduate of Chelsea College of Art and Design, and of the Royal College of Art, London, Rosalind is a founder and co-manager of Core Gallery, Deptford. She is also an experienced textile designer, educator and writer: an artist and organiser to watch for sure.