The Modern Blacksmith
Inman Gallery, Houston, TX
September 14-October 13, 2001

Bill Davenport's new paintings, like the other quirky, low-tech objects he has become known for over the past ten years, are curious, extra-ordinarily executed handmade objects, self-conscious exercises in patience.

More real than reality, they include a wealth of detail for detail's sake, squandering time, skill, and effort on everyday objects until the objects painted are given significance through the very act of painting them. Like a magician's sleight of hand, trompe l'oeil is fooling for the delight of being fooled. Cutting across distinctions between high and low art, the simple aha! experience as one leans in to touch a painted object, fooled by clever technique, is universal.

A favorite still life subject, books are loaded with significance; they are the epitome of knowledge. In a food picture, the viewer eats again with his eyes; in book pictures one re-reads, re-thinks, re-learns. Who hasn't snooped another's bookshelves in an unguarded moment? Deadpan, detailed, and as personal as a medicine cabinet, each painting is an oblique portrait of the artist through portraits of his books.