This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

Paul Davies’ Paintings Capture The Essence Of Iconic Modernist Architecture

Art

The last time we featured artist Paul Davies, he and his wife Sarah were about to move to Los Angeles for what was only meant to be a year. They ended up staying for six!

After a year-long residency at the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture in Phoenix, Paul’s distinct, pop-art style reached a new maturity. Now back on Australian soil, Paul paints his vibrant, graphic artworks from a home studio on the Sunshine Coast. We take a look at his architecture-inspired paintings, ahead of his solo show at Sophie Gannon Gallery, which opens today!

13th October, 2020

Paintings by Paul Davies for his solo exhibition ‘Space Displaced’, showing online from October 13th – 31st at Sophie Gannon Gallery. Photo – courtesy of Sophie Gannon.

Built Facade in Yellow, 2020. 122 x 92cm

Built Facade in Blue, 2020. 122 x 92cm

Built Facade with Chairs, 2020. 122 x 92cm

Photo – Gary Heery.

Built Facade in Blue Forest, 2020. 122 x 92cm

Built Facade Fade, 2020. 122 x 92cm

Built Facade in Pink, 2020. 122 x 92cm

Sasha Gattermayr
Tuesday 13th October 2020

Artist Paul Davies lives in a house inspired by one of his own paintings. Usually it’s the other way around: iconic modernist homes inspire Paul’s work. But in this case, his mother-in-law was so enamoured with a piece he gifted her depicting the silhouette of a modernist house, she designed her beach house (brought to life by Blok Modular’s Dan Burnett and Stuart Vokes of Vokes and Peters) in its image. When Paul, his wife Sarah, and their son Arlo returned to Australia after six years in Los Angeles last December, the young family moved right in!

Paul set up his studio in the bottom floor, and got to work creating the pieces which are now on display at Sophie Gannon Gallery. Space Displaced is a series of 11 works, each depicting architecturally significant sites around North America.

The process of creating Paul’s technicolour, architecture-inspired paintings is time-intensive, and often take up two years in development. First, he goes on a research expedition, taking photographs of scenes and buildings he comes across. From that initial reconnaissance mission, he finds one or two images he likes the most, and sticks them on his studio wall. ‘That’s where they’ll stay for about two years!’ he says.

Paul enlarges each photo and cuts it into a series of complex stencils, before proceeding to collage multiple cut-outs into a single scene. Though the houses look like West Coast architecture, the buildings featured in this body of work include Farnsworth House by Mies van der Rohe in Chicago, and Fallingwater and Kentuck Knob – two of Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic homes in Pennsylvania. These iconic exteriors have been combined with imagery collaged from different environments: towering Australian gums, skinny Palm Springs palms, the Aspen forest in Colorado and residential pools in Miami, creating a totally original, imagined location.

Natural elements such as trees, sky or bodies of water are often painted in bright, vivid shades, while man-made constructions are rendered in black and white. This stark colour contrast implores the viewer to consider the tension between the natural environment and the built one.

In addition to referencing architecture, photography, and even Warhol-era Pop Art techniques in his work, Paul draws on much earlier references, too.

‘I am interested in the way the post-impressionists depicted landscape by separating colour in block forms,’ he explains. ‘Because it allows the viewer to project onto these spaces rather than give away too much information. Rather than depicting a landscape as it is, I am interested in how these methods can reveal different ways of looking.’

‘Space Displaced’ will be showing online from October 13th – 31st at Sophie Gannon Gallery. See more here.

This Week

2.37

Interiors

YSG Studio Brings 'Afternoon Delight' To This Dreamy Kitchen Design for Laminex

We take a closer look at YSG Studio's stunning new collaboration with Laminex!

Shopping

A Childrenswear Label That Takes Us Back To The Golden Years - WIN With Goldie + Ace!

Get ready to send the kids back to school in style with the Golden Years collection from Goldie + Ace!
Sasha Gattermayr
  7 hours ago

14 Brands Making Waves With The Wiggly Trend

From undulating limestone vases to wiggly steel coat-stands, here are 14 wavy furniture pieces and homewares we love!

Interiors

A Curvaceous + Calm Edwardian Home Renovation

Working within the exisiting footprint, CJH Studio transformed this Melbourne home with smart planning and minimalist interiors.

Architecture

An Elwood Bungalow That Draws From Within

A innovative extension around a circular garden creates an inward focus to this California bungalow extension by Rob Kennon Architects.

Homes

A Cheerful Beachside Retreat

Virginia Morris' colourful 1980s Anglesea home, located just 100 steps from the beach!

News

A Lifetime Of Mim Design Projects In One Book!

‘Works’ is a tome celebrating 21 years of Miriam Fanning’s sophisticated interiors + architecture practice.
Sasha Aarons
36.05

Podcast

Dinosaur Designs Co-Founder Louise Olsen On Building An Iconic Australian Brand, On TDF Talks

Lucy Feagins talks to the legendary designer and artist about building an iconic Australian design brand.

Architecture

A Mid-Century Reimagining Of A Bells Beach Home

Bones House by Lachlan Shepherd Architects is a mid-century inspired makeover of a brick veneer home facing Bells Beach.

Shopping

The New Ceramics Studio Built On Centuries Of Inherited Knowledge

The debut collection from new ceramics studio House Editions by Claudia Lau brings porcelain bowls, plates and vases in experimental glazes

Architecture

A Minimalist, Semi-Prefabricated Beach House

Architect Hannah Tribe of Tribe Studio developed a prototype for a partially prefabricated kit home for her own family beach house in Bundee...

Interiors

The Timeless Update Of A 1950s Portsea Beach House

Pipkorn Kilpatrick improve the flow and functionality of this 1956 home originally designed by Robin Boyd, ensuring its legacy remains in ta...

11 Brilliant Lighting Designs That Will Light Up Your Life!

From delicate frosted tubes to sculptural glass chandeliers, these are the finalists in the Lighting Design category of The Design Files + L...

Architecture

A Grecian-Inspired Update For A California Bungalow

Alcorn Middleton update a 1980s family home with arches, white-washed columns and a inspired by quintessential Santorini architecture.

Creative People

The Trailblazing Couple Behind Brisbane's New Indigenous Art Centre

Amanda Hayman and Troy Casey are the entrepreneurial couple behind Brisbane's most exciting new art gallery and retail space!

View Comments

Similar Stories

Studio Visit

Painting Wild, Abstract Scenes With Diana Ellinger

The painter and graphic designer returned from expat life in Mumbai due to the onset of the pandemic at the beginning of the year - and now
Sasha Gattermayr

Art

A New Art Collaboration At Raes on Wategos

The iconic Byron Bay hotel launches its first Artist in Residence program, with French-Australian painter Stanislas (Stan) Piechaczek.

Art

Lucas Grogan Returns Home To Regional NSW With A 'Sort-Of-Retrospective'

The prodigal son of Maitland, NSW returns to showcase his last decade of work in 'Long Story Short' at Maitland Regional Art Gallery, openin...
Sasha Gattermayr

This Week

2.37

Interiors

YSG Studio Brings 'Afternoon Delight' To This Dreamy Kitchen Design for Laminex

We take a closer look at YSG Studio's stunning new collaboration with Laminex!

Architecture

A Grecian-Inspired Update For A California Bungalow

Alcorn Middleton update a 1980s family home with arches, white-washed columns and a inspired by quintessential Santorini architecture.

Creative People

The Trailblazing Couple Behind Brisbane's New Indigenous Art Centre

Amanda Hayman and Troy Casey are the entrepreneurial couple behind Brisbane's most exciting new art gallery and retail space!

News

A Lifetime Of Mim Design Projects In One Book!

‘Works’ is a tome celebrating 21 years of Miriam Fanning’s sophisticated interiors + architecture practice.
Sasha Aarons
36.05

Podcast

Dinosaur Designs Co-Founder Louise Olsen On Building An Iconic Australian Brand, On TDF Talks

Lucy Feagins talks to the legendary designer and artist about building an iconic Australian design brand.

14 Brands Making Waves With The Wiggly Trend

From undulating limestone vases to wiggly steel coat-stands, here are 14 wavy furniture pieces and homewares we love!

Shopping

A Childrenswear Label That Takes Us Back To The Golden Years - WIN With Goldie + Ace!

Get ready to send the kids back to school in style with the Golden Years collection from Goldie + Ace!
Sasha Gattermayr
  7 hours ago

11 Brilliant Lighting Designs That Will Light Up Your Life!

From delicate frosted tubes to sculptural glass chandeliers, these are the finalists in the Lighting Design category of The Design Files + L...

Architecture

A Minimalist, Semi-Prefabricated Beach House

Architect Hannah Tribe of Tribe Studio developed a prototype for a partially prefabricated kit home for her own family beach house in Bundee...

Architecture

A Mid-Century Reimagining Of A Bells Beach Home

Bones House by Lachlan Shepherd Architects is a mid-century inspired makeover of a brick veneer home facing Bells Beach.

Homes

A Cheerful Beachside Retreat

Virginia Morris' colourful 1980s Anglesea home, located just 100 steps from the beach!

Architecture

An Elwood Bungalow That Draws From Within

A innovative extension around a circular garden creates an inward focus to this California bungalow extension by Rob Kennon Architects.

Shopping

The New Ceramics Studio Built On Centuries Of Inherited Knowledge

The debut collection from new ceramics studio House Editions by Claudia Lau brings porcelain bowls, plates and vases in experimental glazes

Interiors

The Timeless Update Of A 1950s Portsea Beach House

Pipkorn Kilpatrick improve the flow and functionality of this 1956 home originally designed by Robin Boyd, ensuring its legacy remains in ta...

Interiors

A Curvaceous + Calm Edwardian Home Renovation

Working within the exisiting footprint, CJH Studio transformed this Melbourne home with smart planning and minimalist interiors.

Similar Stories

Studio Visit

Painting Wild, Abstract Scenes With Diana Ellinger

The painter returned to Australian shores with the onset of the pandemic - and now has an upcoming exhibition!
Sasha Gattermayr

Art

A New Art Collaboration At Raes on Wategos

The iconic Byron Bay hotel launches its first Artist in Residence program, with French-Australian painter Stanislas (Stan) Piechaczek.

Art

Lucas Grogan Returns Home To Regional NSW With A 'Sort-Of-Retrospective'

The prodigal son of Maitland, NSW returns to showcase his last decade of work in 'Long Story Short' at Maitland Regional Art Gallery, openin...
Sasha Gattermayr

The Design Files acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files – we would love to hear from you.

Please email us here.