The formal looseness and shifting focal points of Darron Davies' new series of photographs echoes the work of Japanese photographers such as Eye Ohashi and Rinko Kawauchi. Recasting the botanical photograph in a more speculative, abstracted light, his images of diminutive plant life encased in glass terrariums espouse an allegorical, contemplative bent. Context is abandoned and scale dashed. Indeed, these works seem at once vast and minute – the curved silhouettes of leaves and foliage give fleeting hints of shape and form to lush tones and organic hues. That Davies broaches the notion of endurance in his artist's statement is telling. Though incredibly petite, contained and fragile, these unlikely little plants and their secluded micro-ecosystems form a lovely metaphor for the will to survive.

Dan Rule, The Age, Saturday January 26, 2013.























This is the first “magical” exhibition of photography that I have seen in Melbourne this year. Comprising just seven moderately large Archival Pigment Print on Photo Rag images mounted in white frames, this exhibition swept me off my feet. The photographs are beautiful, subtle, nuanced evocations to the fragility and enduring nature of life. The photographs move (shimmer almost) one to another, with slight changes in the colour green balanced with abstract splashes of light and pigment reminiscent of an abstract expressionist painting (I particularly like the splash of red in The Red Shard, 2012). These are beautifully seen works, that require 1) a good idea, 2) an aware and enquiring mind, 3) an understanding and receptive eye, and 4) a relationship to the ineffable that allows visions such as these to be breathed into existence. As Minor White would say,

Three Canons
Be still with yourself
Until the object of your attention
Affirms your presence

Let the Subject generate its own Composition

When the image mirrors the man
And the man mirrors the subject
Something might take over

A sense of day/dreaming is possible when looking at these images. Interior/exterior, size/scale, ego/self are not fixed but fluid, like the condensation that runs down the inside of these environments (much like blood circulates our body). This allows the viewer’s mind to roam at will, to ponder the mysteries of our short, improbable, joyous life. The poetic titles add to this introspective reflection. I came away from viewing these magical, self sustaining vessels with an incredibly happy glow, more aware of my own body and its relationship to the world than before I had entered Darron Davies' enveloping, terrarium world.

Dr Marcus Bunyan for the Art Blart blog, February 3, 2013.

Here’s my pick of the nine best local exhibitions which featured on the Art Blart blog in 2013 - Melbourn's Magnificent Nine 2013 - which features Darron Davies' Terraria.