John Davenport’s artistic practice focuses primarily on portraiture, an interest that he has pursued since retiring as Professor of Primary Dental Care at the University of Birmingham. He has been assisted in pursuing this interest by his understanding of the anatomy of the head and neck acquired during a long dental career.
John paints mostly in acrylic and prefers to work primarily from life although he often uses photographs when direct observation is not possible. He works rapidly aiming to create a strong, gestural image that helps to give the portrait strength and vitality. John usually focusses on the sitter more than the surroundings. He has broad tastes in portraiture and is not influenced by any one artist in particular but tends to particularly enjoy the work of those artists who have a painterly technique. He avoids employing a photorealistic approach as he feels this tends to produce a relatively lifeless result.
In addition to working with acrylic, Davenport also enjoys working in a variety of other media such as charcoal and graphite. He also regularly engages in printmaking, employing a variety of printing techniques.
John has had solo exhibitions at the Helmsley Art Centre; the University of Birmingham and the RBSA Gallery, as well as exhibiting in group shows at the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, the RBSA and Birmingham Art Circle. Portrait commissions include the Vice Chancellor of Malmo University; Sampson Gamgee, the founder of the Birmingham Medical Institute; and two Directors of the Birmingham School of Dentistry; together with a number of private commissions.