John Davis (sculptor)

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John Davis
Born John Davis
1936 (1936)
Known for Sculpture
Notable work

Tree Piece

Fish and Pebbles
Movement Arte Povera

John Davis (16 September 1936 – 17 October 1999) was an Australian sculptor and pioneer of Environmental art.

Early life[edit]

Born in Ballarat, Victoria, Australia, he studied at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Caulfield institute of technology and Melbourne Teachers College before becoming a lecturer at Prahran College of Advanced Education.[1]


An Australian exponent of Arte povera, he famously developed a new mode of Site-specific art at the Mildura Sculpture Triennial in the early 1970s. His most influential work, which was entitled Tree Piece, was made by encasing the trunks of several growing trees on the banks of the Murray River with, alternately, papier mache, mud, latex, coiled string, plastic cling wrap, and twigs bound together. The impermanent work was then allowed to weather and rot away. It was a breakthrough which lead many sculptors to reconsider the fate of outdoor works, and whether the fabrication of art might in some way adversely impact on the environment.

Taking his cues from Aboriginal artifacts, Davis later became chiefly known for tender assembled works made of natural materials, including leaves and twigs, intended to highlight the fragile beauty of nature.

His sculpture, Bicycle II (1976), was purchased by the National Gallery of Australia.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "JOHN DAVIS: EVOLUTION OF A FISH - TRAVELLER". McClelland Gallery. Retrieved 2008-09-16. 
  2. ^ Davis, John: Bicycle II, National Gallery of Australia.


Further reading[edit]