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Davies's 'William Jeffrey with Device', also in this display, was cast from life. However, 'Dogman' was originally modelled by the artist in clay. A plaster mould was then made, and from this the head was cast in fibreglass and painted. Both sculptures incorporate what Davies calls a 'device'. Here, this takes the form of a dog-like muzzle which was modelled onto the features of the head. Glass eyes complete the illusion of reality, despite this bizarre appendage. The viewer is thus presented with a paradox: a head which appears both naturalistic and simultaneously fantastic. Davies exploits this disturbing ambiguity to amplify the physical presence of this 'portrait'.

August 2004