Grizedale Arts

Artists

Bryan & Laura Davies


At Grizedale

Bryan and Laura Davies are married and have worked in tandem for some years. Their practice is a reflection on the world of functional success, often making reference to property and material wealth.
Defined as "healthy successful people", and "the art equivalent of Friends" by Grizedale directors Adam Sutherland and Alistair Hudson, the pairs' work contains the message that happy fun loving people can transform the world around them for the better, challenging a contemporary social stereotype that cynicism and a removed critique are credible.

Bryan Davies was selected for a residency as part of a collaborative practice with Dan Robinson, and together they developed a project for Cumbriana Proof called Thinking Space for the North (An identity for Low Parkamoor). Centered at the then derelict Parkamoor farm in the Lake District, the project developed ideas for how the site might be used through exhibitions and live events that created a dialogue with the public, and ultimately a scheme was instituted within the space. Phase two of the project involved improving the fabric of the farmhouse and site within an existing vernacular of skills and materials relevant to the locality. The project as it evolved was represented within the projects Return of The Seven Samurai, and Virtually Grizedale.

The Davies first worked together at Grizedale as part of the Happy Stacking programme in China, creating two separate projects linked through the ethos of the program.
Pimp my Ping Fang saw Bryan moving (as is usual for him) between the creative scope of an architect and artist. Bryan envisioned a redevelopment within the mountain village of Nanling which played up the uniqueness and benefits of the current housing situation, yet with more social hubs including silver surfer internet cafes, vegetable garden shops, fashion boutiques and other micro-business, and more garden space on rooftops linked by arial walkways. The redevelopment would attract tourists keen to see 'another' China, with its own contemporary applications, whilst opening the district up for the self control and self organisation of a sustainable living project.
Also dealing with issues of economics and design, Laura set up shop with a local dressmaker. After meditating on the fashionista's penchant for European designs with their origins in utilitarianism, the two produced prototypes for a range of clothes to be sold outside the localized economy. A Nanling toile was also fabricated from Laura's series of drawings of local vernacular and agricultural objects, suggesting a narrative and promotion for the village. The fabric can be utilized by the dressmaker to make a new brand of clothes for export. Laura's vision cumulated in her dressing of Ping Fang House to suggest how the building could be adapted into a concept boutique which highlights the craft and culture of the village and develops ideas for local enterprise.

Laura has also developed some fabric for the interior of the new GA home, Lawson Park Farm.

Project Contributions

Dates

2005- ongoing

Selected Shows

Solo Exhibitions/Projects
2010 Road to Voting with The University of Leeds
2008 The Wonderful North, roadtrip and online expo, with Numiko for the Northern Way & Arts Council England
2007 Hello Friends, siting of public sculpture at Bridgewater Place, Leeds
2006 Thinking Space for the North, event for Supersocial at Static, Liverpool Biennial, Liverpool
Unidee/Cittadellarte, curated a Yorkshire artist to attend the 4-month residency at the Pistoletto Foundation, Italy

Group Exhibitions/Projects
2009 Can Art Save Us?, Millennium Gallery, Sheffield
2008 Far West, Arnolfini, Bristol
2007 The Return of the Seven Samurai, Lucy Mackintosh Gallery, Lausanne, Switzerland