Heike Davies



Established South African artist, Heike Davies, will hold her first solo exhibition since 2005, at the Barnard Gallery from the 2nd of February 2012. The exhibition entitled “Good-Night”, will feature bold figurative mixed media paintings that explore the power of female sexuality.

This powerful exhibition explores the contradictory perceptions of women as objects of desire, abuse and fear. “The work talks about female sexuality, as one of the most powerful forces, yet it is the very thing that renders women completely vulnerable,” says Davies. 

The emotive work combines elements from traditional portraiture with something that is more uncomfortable and raw. Her subjects, a pantheon of women, some taken from commercial mass media images, others are women from the sex industry, and some are friends. The differences between them are blurred and merged; it is difficult to tell which are prostitutes, fashion models, friends or porn stars. On the canvases the subjects merge into a nameless, faceless confrontation, they are all portrayed as women in a way that is fragile yet fierce in their strength. 

The works juxtapose vulnerability and assertion. Many of the subjects shut their eyes in escape from the viewers prying eyes, to evade the questions, judgments, yet somehow they are all very present. Yet, others are painted in a formal frontal perspective and challenge the viewer directly with their very direct confrontational gazes. Yet all somehow manage to present themselves naked before you, vulnerable, defiant and beautiful.
This work portrays women in unadulterated honesty, contrasting virtue with a common and underlying primal sense of allure. The over-riding feeling of the works is beauty – and the complexity that surrounds beauty – the blessing and the curse of being female.


Source: Barnard Gallery

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