Biography & influences
Siobhan Davies was born in South Africa and brought to England at the age of 2; she grew up in the North West and after completing her studies, moved to London in the early 90’s.
She studied Fine Art at Newcastle Polytechnic and completed her MA at Birmingham Institute of Art & Design. She practiced as a professional artist, winning several awards and showing nationally. In 1996-7 she was Henry Moore Fellow at the Byam Shaw School of Art, and shows around that time included independent pop-ups as well as EAST, Salisbury Festival and BT New Contemporaries.
Siobhan stopped working as an artist to pursue a more secure career for her family from the early 2000s; however in 2008 she began painting and drawing again. She now spends periods of several months working intensively in the studio between day job contracts, when she develops ideas begun in the interstices of “proper” work.
Most work is now ceramic. She “tries to work with materials rather than against them” , spending much time exploring the mark-making potentials of any media she is using.
I am mainly a 3-dimensional person. When I’m being good I start with drawings but a lot of the time I just pile into making something. I’m in love with clay but trying to wean myself off cups and plates so more sculptural things can emerge. I’ve got a process and technical bent so currently playing with recipes & firings.
Influences and themes
Her childhood was spent with sporadic trips to Africa and more frequent trips to English grandparents.
Her grandmother was an avid collector of Victoriana; the collection was huge and catholic, from stuffed animals to porcelain dolls, musical cylinder boxes, kitsch cat pictures and butch gothic or dainty jappaned cabinets. Very much at odds with the earthy Zulu decorative patterns and artefacts battling against 70’s wallpapers and swirling carpets at home.
As an only child she developed a vivid personal narrative of creatures and rituals to play with and by, and read voraciously with a distinct taste for the gothic and supernatural.
My work now is both surprising and familiar to me; I seem to have re-entered the world I created as a child and was so keen to leave behind once a young adult.