A much-awaited exhibition of painting and ceramics by young, internationally known artist Davina Stephens will run for nearly two months at Bali's Jenggala Gallery located within Jenggala Ceramics in Jimbaran.
Born in New Zealand and having first set foot in Bali at age six, Davina grew up in places as diverse as Bali, India and New York City. Her resultant personality is vivacious with boundless capacities for humor, incongruities, chaos and the ironies presented by modern life.
Unbounded by the dictates of any school of painting tradition, at home with the bright colors of a childhood spent in the Orient, and refusing to even be limited by frames which are trespassed by some of her work; Davina's paintings are surreal.
As Bernard Fouilloux of Galerie Du Rayon Vert in Paris said, "Davina paints the way she lives, with 'Appetite'."
In the words of the artist, "for me, painting is like producing a play in the theatre. The first drawings are like setting the stage, the painting process is where I fill in the characters and the story, and the culmination of the detailing is like laying out the entire narrative. Then the story tells itself."
By juxtaposing modern symbols with old world scenarios, technology with tradition, new ways with old ones, the vulgar with the worshipped, and the sacred with the profane, Davina's work seems to be saying to us that this is a world in the chaos of its transition, and all the contradictions, paradoxes and incongruities inherent in it, are what make it significant, and that, instead of judging it and trying to separate one from the other, we should see it as seamless and celebrate the beauty.
Therefore Davina's images of a Buddhist monk with a can of coke or a priest on mountaintop glued to his cell phone do not disturb us, and we embrace the apparent vulgarity with a smile.
And that is her intention.
Davina Stephens has shown her work internationally in Indonesia, France, Australia, USA and India, and is the recipient of numerous awards.
This is Baliwood opens Friday, August 6 at Jenggala Ceramic's Gallery and runs through Saturday, September 30, 2004.
Gallery hours are from 8:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. daily.
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