Together Again: Wood Cut II

against the grain of woodcut

Together Again: Wood Cut II

This solo exhibition by Lucy Davis commissioned by The Substation consists of wood print collages, charcoal drawings and fragments of animation encircling memories of a tropical hardwood bed purchased in Singapore.The exhibition is a continuation of Davis’ exploration into the “secret lives” of timber objects in Southeast Asia and ongoing research into stories of, and relationships between, wood and trees in the region, where both are explored as material, metaphor, magic, ecological resource and historical agent…The exhibition also continues a homage to the form and content of the Singapore modern woodcut movement, recast in a context of ecological crisis and contemporary “cuttings of wood” – Exhibition text

The sequel to a successful exhibition, Lucy Davis follows up with fictionalising Alfred Wallace, and William Farquhar in a range of work on paper, romancing the provenance of a teak bed frame purchased from a shop along Serangoon Road. Creating myriad textures from the bed frame, these were collaged to form images with printed text and magazine-like cut-outs.  Compositions that worked better were those that had a pictorial emphasis and consistency in media where the text played a secondary, poetic role. Blending charcoal drawings in some, attaching sticks to suggest shadow puppets added much troubled complexity and textual to the work. For some, overtaken by fiction, this might detract from the environmental message distinct in Wood Cut I. For others, the work on paper is consistent with the animation, an experimental, spontaneous bricolage of compositions to a melodious, haunting sound track. The animation was perhaps the most successful work in the exhibition, combining the stop-motion-like technical processes, exacting a response of curiousity, consistent with the insistence of the artist to carbon date her furniture.  The works in the gallery hold visually well together, but the sense of continuity between the ‘frames’ may be lacking. The works thus should be seen independently, then insisting a storyboard linearity. Like  a printmaker that knows the difference between woodcut and wood engraving, some of the works in the exhibition might just cut against the grain too much, revealing hurried compositions and rough edges.

By The Migrant Ecologies Project (Lucy Davis)

Substation Gallery
Nov 5-22, 2009

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