Stephen Davies: Known/unknown

Figurative art, especially portraiture, has always been a major focus of my art practice. Most of the artworks included in this exhibition sit comfortably in the genre of portraiture. They are, in essence, representations of the heads of people. Some of these people I know; family, friends, life models - others I don't, sourcing their images from photographs or simply composing a new, imagined likeness.

Known/unknown, is also, in part, a reference to a series of portraits I am undertaking based on images of unknown, or unidentified people. This ongoing project was inspired by the incident where former Prime Minister John Key was captioned as an unidentified guest with David Cameron in a European Pressphoto Agency's photograph. For me, this is simply a way of removing hierarchical structures and celebrating people as people.

As an artist, I like to take inspiration from the wealth of art history as well as the world around me. My work often re-presents past representations of art in a somewhat tenuous reinterpretation. I see this as indicative of how we all view art – through the filter of our own lives, our experiences, our culture, our personality, our knowledge. This personal history informs our understanding of what we see and any derived meaning we may take from it.