Asian Insights in Davson Art


中国经贸聚焦·英文版 2015年11期

As you look into paintings by artist Sharon Davson, you will discover Asian philosophy and mythology woven into the visual concepts. These insights run like silken threads through the beautiful and environmentally sensitive art by Davson, Australias highest valued living artist.

2012: Davson in her studio working on Pole to Pole, depicting the World First sporting event for a person running through the Americas from the North Pole to the South Pole. Davson was a significant Sponsor for the event. Yes, an artist a Sponsor of an international sporting event. This was believed to be a World First for an artist

The Chinese Dragon, with its power to control the weather through using water to create rainfall, cyclones and floods, ignited Davsons imagination. As Davson says, “I became fascinated with this deity symbol of power, strength and good luck through my study of Chinese art and philosophy as a Fine Art student at the College of Art in Brisbane in the 1970s.”

Davson also embraces the symbolic meanings attributed to other creatures from Chinese culture. Specific birds and animals frequent her art as a significant part of its ‘visual language and commentary. These references help give art by her subtle layers of narrative, which often remains hidden to Western audiences. Yet they are there for the discerning viewer to ‘read and discover.

So it has been a deliberate choice by Davson, over many decades, to convey enriching messages through symbolic imagery, including the Red Crested Crane (symbol for immortality), Turtle (longevity) and Monkey (cheerful and versatile). Art by her can be enjoyed for its composition and visual beau-ty, and it can be re-interpreted through its interwoven layers of Eastern and Western symbolism.

Combining Eastern and Western beliefs and concepts evolved quite naturally from a young age in paintings and drawings by Davson. This has helped set her apart from most other Australian artists.

Falling in love with art by Sharon Davson is easy.

According to the internationally published poet and biographer, Celia Berrell, “Art by Davson is unquestionably spiritually and environmentally sensitive. It is beautifully detailed with multilevelled layers of meaning, posing questions and conversing with the viewer. Davson employs devices to help the viewer explore these layers of meaning such as jig-saw puzzles or water pattern motifs, or other visual devices.

Her art is positively powerful and inspirational to many. Art by her is in her own unmistakable style which grew from a love of puzzles, nature and spiritual awareness from both Eastern and Western perspectives. Her paintings are rare and highly valued by collectors and investors here and internationally.”

Art by Davson can be found in royal, celebrity, museum, corporate, investment and private collections. Although she is best known for her paintings, to date she has only created about 100. Yet, Davson has lived and supported charitable initiatives from the sale of her art for over thirty years, without needing to teach or take on other forms of income. This is remarkable for an artist in Australia, and internationally rare for a woman.

Sharon Davson is also Australias highest valued living artist.

Within the Chinese business and investment worlds, there is a growing popularity for Australia, and art by Davson is attracting attention. Art by her is of a high quality and therefore enriching, rewarding and inspiring.

Interestingly, the majority of art by Davson is pre-sold. Yes, sold before it has even been created! And art by Davson changes hands, from one collector to another, for everincreasing high values.

Over the last thirty years, an interesting comparison can be made with Sydney real estate. The sale value of her paintings has been doubling approximately every three years. Thats much faster than Sydney real estate! Yes, on average, prices achieved for her paintings (relative to size) have doubled about every three years. (Sydney real estate by comparison doubles just under every seven years). No other Australian artist comes close to this astounding value rise; and Davson has maintained this rapid value rise for over thirty years. It is not just a recent phenomenon.

This is an extraordinary, unique, record of sales growth over such a proven length of time. It would be exceptionally rare for any living artist internationally, especially a woman. And yet she has remained outside of the commercial art gallery and auction house worlds.

Even in economic recessions, the sale values for paintings by Davson have doubled. And through this unique achievement, she has never compromised her style and always been able to follow her passions for helping make our Earth a more harmonious place for all its ‘inhabitants to thrive. She has donated much of her working life to this cause.

Sharon Davson recently signed a $7.22 million contract to create four paintings to adorn a new hotel complex in Newcastle, NSW. She will also create smaller works and be the design consultant for all the finishes in The Davson Art Hotel. The paintings on which she is currently working are her A Wondrous Life series. These will be reproduced as photographic canvases for The Davson guest rooms and are available from the mid five figure range. Other paintings by her start in US dollars from five and rise to touching on eight figures.

And yes, these include inspirational creatures of Eastern and Western significance, and even Dragons.

The Chinese Dragon, in Golden Scales, tugs on a giant rainbow as he flies above the imagery of this 2014 oil painting. He celebrates the gentle and smiling aspect of the deity, following rain. With his other hand the Dragon shines light on two goldfish, representing the marriage and prosperity of a couple.

A species of carp, bred and developed in China over a thousand years ago, resulted in the imperial coloured ‘goldfish. With their long and celebrated history, goldfish illuminate many aspects of Chinese art and culture, including symbolising abundance.

The female Goldfish has as a fan as her backdrop. The Chinese calligraphy character for the word “fan” has the same sound as the character for “kindness” or “good.” Thus, fans are associated with good luck charms and expressions of generosity.

Davson added, “A fan can be closed, open, or in varying stages between the two. As such it can point in a single direction (closed) or many directions (open). A fan can reveal just a glimpse of an image, requiring us to imagine the rest, or it can expose a full image. As in life, where we can start off in one direction, then encounter multiple choices and distractions, the fan reflects questions about how much of lifes story we really know.”

Did you know Australia has its own mythological Dragon? Its a folklore creature called the ‘Bunyip. However, unlike the proliferation of Dragons in Chinese art and culture, there are few images of a Bunyip in Australian art. So, Davson was free to invent her own versions. Which she did on more than one occasion!

Bunyips by Davson are a hybrid of a Dragon and a Kangaroo! In her painting titled Munibung Bunyip in Winding Creek she continues the Dragon and water association. However, this Bunyip is also going mining with his pick and miners hat. His guide lighting the way for this adventure is a bird, a Rainbow Bee Eater.

The Munibung Bunyip series by Davson consisted of four paintings and a massive lead-light glass and sculptural work and were created over several years. They were originally commissioned to adorn a large entertainment facility in Newcastle. To the knowledge of the artist, their ownership has changed four times, and these works of arty are now in privately owned collections.

Bunyip Light Band and Munibung Bunyip in Winding Creek were included in her major retrospective exhibition Davson ~ With Gratitude for the Light that toured in 14 public regional art galleries from 1999 to 2002. This survey exhibition featured sixty-three works including paintings, drawings, original silk-screen prints and etchings. This was a most impressive representation of the artists lifes work to that date. The majority of the art in this large exhibition showcased work by the artist from 1973 to 1999 was borrowed for the purpose from prominent public museum, corporate and private collections in Australia and internationally.

However, it is possibly Davsons first Bunyip creation which has attracted the most collector interest.

In 1973, at an event which included an art exhibition in Toowoomba in Queensland, HRH the Duke of Edinburgh Prince Philip purchased and oil painting by Sharon Davson. He was also presented with her Bunyip Fantasy drawing to further add to his Royal collection. These were rare honours for the young artist. A third work of art by Davson entered another Royal collection in 1998; this time in Malaysia.

Other Australian variations on the Dragon which frequently feature in art by Davson are lizards. These lizards include the Water Dragon, the bearded Dragon, the Frilled Neck Lizard and the Angle Headed Dragon.

Is Anyone Listening? is one of these paintings. The setting is the arid Australian landscape, which is particularly dear to the artist for its strength of endurance and its inspiration.

Emerging from a large jig-saw puzzle piece is a FrilledNeck Lizard perched on top of a discarded Coca-Cola can. In its landscape setting, it raises a profound environmental question, Is Anyone Listening?

It is the epitome of her campaign for endangered species and environmental awareness which has extended over decades.

Is Anyone Listening? was described by Joan Winter, Director of the Bundaberg Art Centre, QLD, when Davsons With Gratitude for the Light retrospective exhibition was shown in the gallery ….

“as one of the best paintings in this touring exhibition and my favourite”.

This painting is important in the artists career for other reasons as well. It is the only painting from the 1990s created by Sharon Davson as a purely personal response to environmental issues.

Most of her art works were commissioned. Is Anyone Listening? was not. So this is a rare example of the artist creating a purely personal painting. There are only a handful of such paintings in existence.

In fact, for a leading professional artist, she has created a remarkably small number of paintings. From the early 1980s to the present time, she has finished only 98 paintings.

Davson plans to cross the 100 mark very soon with the major seven figure paintings commissioned for The Davson Art Hotel to be constructed in Newcastle in 2016-17, as well as the smaller paintings in association with it. As there are many guest rooms, she is creating twenty small paintings on the theme of A Wondrous Life. These paintings will be reproduced as photographic canvases for the guest rooms and the original paintings are being sold to collector investors.

Many of them have pre-sold before paint was applied to canvas, others are selling partly underway. Some of these paintings are destined to be completed this year, others in 2016. These works are being viewed by collectors and investors as fabulous ‘entry pieces into owning art by Davson. Being new works and not that large, they are very affordable starting in mid-five figures.

Cultural connections with Davson come together in many ways. Her painting Mitchells World is part of her Connecting Friends series of which six paintings have been commenced.

A major character in this painting is the iconic and cheerful Major Mitchell Cockatoo. This Australian is set against a blue sky and from an outstretched wing it radiates the Light of creation, transforming and enlivening what may otherwise been a manufactured page.

Hand and foot prints emerge from an open Book of Wisdom that floats above the ground, placing it above the usual dimension or realm of earthly understanding. These anatomical prints assist the pages to grow, evolving them into a World Flag. With a visiting bird from Southern China / Hong Kong perched on the thumb print.

The pages of the book are the only ‘leaves on the stark branch emerging from the crease of the book with its pages open wide to accommodate a plump and coiled Australian Ring Tail Possum.

The possum stares curiously at the set of scales precariously balanced on a twig. And on another delicately rendered branch is a large Butterfly, the custodian of the keys in this puzzle bound mystery with connections.

In 2004, a World Flag was designed by Davson to assist in creating greater harmony across our world. It was simple and geometric for ease of reproduction anywhere by any one. Smaller versions of the flag have been presented to dignitaries in many parts of the world. This World Flag is glimpsed in Mitchells World and in Golden Scales and forms part of the structure of the composition in both paintings.

Creating harmony and choosing a positive and uplifting approach to imagery is fundamental to Davsons lifes work; whether she is creating art, or assisting endangered species or world peace initiatives. In correspondence by Dianne Mangan, Director of the Wangaratta Art Gallery, a public regional gallery in Victoria that showed the Davson ~ With gratitude for the Light retrospective exhibition she states;

“Sharon Davson is an inspiration. Her art reflects a depth of consciousness rarely encountered. Through Sharons exploration of environmental and social concerns we are made ever more aware of what really matters in our global culture. A leader with spiritual awareness, Sharon shows us a way forward.”

For further information about Davsons art and background, please review the recent September Issue of China Business Magazine.

Please, visit her website or

phone +61 (0)416 026 426 to enquire in English;

and + 61 (0)433 335 588 to speak with Mark Lee 马克郦 in Chinese.


误 会
Part 1 没有最糟,只有更糟