Interview with Martin Davis and Susan Tracey

I recently met with both Martin Davis and Susan Tracey to have a chat about their upcoming exhibition, ‘Treescapes and Water’.

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What are your backgrounds as artists?

Martin Davis: I am a retired firefighter. I left the service in Sheffield in 2007 and have been painting seriously for the last 10-11 years. Practising art was always in my blood and I am fulfilling a lifetime’s ambition by creating and exhibiting work.

Susan Tracey: I gained my B.A.Hons in Painting and Printmaking at Sheffield Hallam University and went on to exhibit widely in the South East before returning to Derbyshire. My work is in diverse places including NCR in London, Rotherham Hospital, offices in Leeds and in private collections. Martin and I are both founding members of the Derbyshire Artists Guild. I have exhibited at East Midlands airport and taken part in Art in the Gardens, Sheffield and Derbyshire Open Arts. I also give workshops in Sheffield schools and I’m currently exhibiting at Leabrooks Arts Complex Somercotes.

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What materials have you used to create the work in the exhibition?

Martin Davis: I generally paint in oils on canvas, canvas board, mdf or wood panel – but I have been known to use acrylics. In fact one of the pieces on display in this exhibition is in acrylic, see if you can spot it in the exhibit.

Susan Tracey: Like Martin, I work mostly in oil on linen. Oil paint dries slowly and working in layers allows time for thought and reflection. My current work is inspired by my yoga practice, dawn light and the surface of water.

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Speaking of inspiration, what else have you taken inspiration from to create this exhibition?

Martin Davis: Mother nature of course; who hasn’t! My own take on mother nature’s inspiration is to focus on one element or part of a form and try to represent it in such a way as to border on the abstract or surreal.

Susan Tracey: My work is drawn from my experience of landscape, walking and sketching directly from nature, spending a lot of time in observation and returning often to the same place before working in the studio. My work is meditative in character, the intention being the creation of a timeless space that distils the essence of a place and can allow a moment or two of calm in a busy day.

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What made you chose West Studios when deciding where you should exhibit your work?

Martin Davis: Chesterfield is an area of the County I have yet to really break into. I have exhibited here before and I’m returning to exhibit again because I like the exhibition space and ambience and I have a good relationship with the staff. I also like the fact that it is also a part teaching and part workshop environment which takes its art seriously.

Susan Tracey: As far as I can see, West Studios has been building a solid reputation as a place to see and exhibit art in a relaxing social space. It is a pleasure to have the opportunity to exhibit here.

Treescapes and Water’ exhibition by Martin Davis and Susan Tracey will be open from 11th January 2019 until 1st February 2019.

Hannah Bowdler