An artist who garnered a small but enthusiastic number of followers, Francis Davison always shunned publicity and preferred anonymity. A one-man exhibition, held at the Hayward Gallery in 1983, was enthusiastically received by his admirers and a number of YBA artists who applauded the work. At that show, Davison wanted his collages to be seen without the references normally given to works of art such as titles, dates and medium. Whilst this idiosyncrasy appealed to some it annoyed others and for Davison the exposure proved almost too much. He rarely exhibited but over the years his collages succeeded in entering the consciousness of a number of curators and collectors. He conducted a life-long correspondence with Patrick Heron who, along with artists such as Roger Hilton and Mary Potter were devotees of his work.
The majority of the collages in this exhibition date from 1983, the year before Davison died. This might be one of the reasons why the works are small but in their originality and ingenuity there is an energy that supersedes the delicacy of their size. The tones are muted and some are simply torn envelopes. The larger collages dating from the 1970s are early 80s are vibrant in contrast and confident in their ability to show us the tensions and shifting nuances of this medium.
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