I’m a Southern girl. You may not know that about me, since we’ve been all over the Northwest during most of Artsy Forager’s existence. OK some may not include Florida as the Deep South, but North Florida is pretty dang close to South Georgia, which is pretty dang Southern. Mr. F is a Southern boy and while we definitely feel more at home in the Northwest, there are things about the South that are so incredibly identifiable and iconic, that only Southerners, whether by birth or transplant, truly understand. Artist Jon Davenport came to the US South by way of the UK where he grew up well versed in Southern iconography, but it wasn’t until he was fully immersed in its culture that he began his artistic exploration of distinctly Southern tastes.
Jon, who shares a similar style to his wife, this month’s Featured Artist Christy Kinard, creates heavily textured, layered work filled with vintage advertising imagery much of which built up our ideas about life in the South, for better or for worse. Some of these icons can still be seen as faded paintings on the sides of buildings, especially in small Southern towns. In many ways, there is a fierce desire to hold onto the past in the South, where Sunday dinners at grandma’s and yes ma’am and no ma’am are still the norm.
Yet behind the fun and frivolity and charm, there was a darkness that would best be forgotten and which many Southern cities are still fighting to overcome. Many strive to overcome lingering stereotypes and “Ol’ Boys Networks”, while seeking to maintain the best of what it means to be a part of what has been a troubled region. Davenport’s work with its bright but slightly faded palette and layered drips and splotches of paint remind us that time marches on, ideals fade, but hopefully what is left is our favorite, most positive parts of ourselves.
To see more of Jon Davenport‘s work, please visit his website. His work can be seen in his solo show at Matre Gallery in Atlanta through February 8th. Stay tuned over the next few days for interviews with Jon & Christy in a special “He Said, She Said” feature on what it’s like to be half of a creative couple!
All images are via the artist’s website.