Mike Deavoll

Michael Deavoll (Dip.F.A.)

Recent Paintings and Mixed Media Work

Artist Statement


How do I talk about my work? The simple answer is I don’t want to. I have done a lot of thinking about each image, what to leave, what to erase, and what is left on the surface is what I have decided is worth keeping. My work does however need time. It also needs an intimate view. The formal elements are subtle and easy to miss with just a glance. You will either give the work time or you won’t.

I remember visiting the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne some years ago. There I saw a painting by Jean Dubuffet called ‘Arab in a Burnous’ (1948). It captivated me with its naivety and innocence. In the spirit of Modernism the process of its making was plain to see. The stylised and primitive form of a human being was courageously unfashionable at the time reminding me of the play of a child. This painting and others by Dubuffet made me realize that I prefer making images that have an immediacy and a rawness. I enjoy play and discovery in the processes used. I don’t know what the final image will be like until it presents itself to me. When nothing can be moved, added or erased the work is complete. The finished work also has an idea embedded in the process of making, made visible by the formal elements, revealing something of myself or of a place, either real or imagined. I suppose coastal areas have always given me the most material to work with.

Jean Dubuffet of course is dead. He is not here to give an Artist’s floor talk. On the wall of Melbourne Gallery was a minimal statement about the work. None of this was needed. The work in its own silent way did the communicating to those prepared to look and contemplate the possibilities of meaning in the content and processes.

My work needs to be viewed in a similar way. It is quiet work but hopefully you can draw from your experience to make links with its possible meaning. For someone who didn’t want to talk about the work I have said too much already. I hope you enjoy the images.