DAVIS #1 SOLOMON (1995) in slipcase copy


SOLOMON, my seven-volume artist’s book, was made in 1995 and has been shown in many venues, including internationally, has won the Fremantle Print Award and entered major collections throughout Australia. SOLOMON still appears in significant Australian exhibitions.

It was included in Une histoire du livre d’artiste australien @ Cabinet du livre d’artiste, Université Rennes, France. Details of other works in the show and installation views can be found through these links:

An elegant catalogue of this exhibition is available from grahame galleries + editions.

SOLOMON was recently shown in Multiple Choices: 40 Years 40 Winners, 25 September to 15 November 2015 at the Fremantle Arts Centre, Fremantle, Western Australia and discussed in Lauren Rogers’ article ‘Progressive Printmaking’, IMPRINT V. 50, No.4 p. 16. Rogers notes that SOLOMON was the first digitally printed work and the first artist’s book to win the Fremantle Print award.


out of the box

SOLOMON was produced after a journey to the Solomon Islands in 1994. The book presents, through text and image, a collage of historical and personal reflections on language and space against the backdrop of the Solomon Islands.  The structure and format of the work reflects the influence of Mallarmé and concrete poetry.

The work develops invented relationships between language and meaning. For example, O signifies head, the sound emanating from the head, an oral culture, the spirit which resides in the head, the coconut and the small puncture left by the tatooist’s needle. The work suggests that these ‘inventions’ have been lurking within the name Solomon.

Each book has a particular emphasis but there are some elements which recur and bind the volumes together;

‘S’ establishes the analogy between space in the text, and space between the islands. The page and the ocean are surfaces for inscription.

‘O’  responds to the significant encounters and experiences that I had as a visitor to the Solomon Islands and notes the impact of the Second World War on the landscape.

‘L’ juxtaposes fragments of stories and diaries from a number of sources. It acknowledges power in the hands of the colonising forces to deliver a dominant vision of the Solomon Islands.

‘O’ is about headhunting, about singing, about the relationship between indigenous spirituality and Christianity.

‘M’ uses the clash of language which occurred under colonisation as its inspiration. It presents the development of pidgin and the development of an independent Solomon voice.

‘O’ takes the coconut as its subject. It posits an analogous relationship between its appearance and its name – the coconut as the ‘o’ contained within its own name. The book represents the many functions of the coconut in traditional society- providing fronds for the weaving of baskets, poles and cladding for dwellings, fence palings for pig enclosures, and coconut shells for drinking cups.’O’ goes on to contrast this with the role and status of diesel in contemporary society.

‘N’ returns to the theme of naming and completes the naming/weaving relationship. ‘N’ repeats and re-articulates many of the concerns and inventions of ‘S’ creating a certain resonance throughout the extended work.

collection of volumes

Images for SOLOMON are derived from photographs that I took in the Solomon Islands. The transparencies were transferred onto Kodak Photo CD and the images manipulated using Adobe 2.5 on a Macintosh computer. The words and images were arranged using Aldus Pagemaker 5.0 and printed on an Apple Stylewriter Pro Colour Inkjet printer on Canon LC201 coated paper. The pages were bound into books by master bookbinder Fred Pohlmann from Brisbane, in an edition of 10. One copy from the edition is still available.

coco diesel drums


SOLOMON has been shown at these venues:

2017 Speaking Volumes: Artists’ Books from the City of Fremantle Art Collection, Fremantle Arts Centre, Western Australia

2015 Une histoire du livre d’artiste australien, Cabinet du livre d’artiste, University of Rennes, France

2015 Multiple Choices: 40 Years 40 Winners, Fremantle Arts Centre, Fremantle, Western Australia

2006 Artists’ Books from the Centre for Artists’ Books, Art Gallery of NSW

2001 Australia + Germany: International Craft Triennale, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide and Object Gallery, Customs House, Sydney

2000 Frankfurt International Craft Triennale, Craft from Scratch, Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Frankfurt Germany

2000 Australian Artists’ Books, grahame galleries + editions, Brisbane

1999 Bernheim Invite l’Australie, Australian Artists’ Books, Bernheim Bibliotheque, New Caledonia

1996 Palimpsest, toured Artspace Sydney, Canberra Contemporary Artspace, RMIT, Melbourne and Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane

1996 From Silkscreen to Computer Screen: 20 Years of the Fremantle Print Award National Touring Show, Melbourne, Bunbury, Geraldton, Kalgoolie, Orange, Armidale, Noosa, Rockhampton, Cairns, Sale, Alice Springs

1996 2nd Australian Artists’ Book Fair, Brisbane

1995 Fremantle Print Award, Fremantle Arts Centre

1995 Niagara Galleries, Melbourne

unnamed unwoven

SOLOMON bibliography:

2017 No More Happy Ever Afters. Lyn Ashby in The Blue Notebook: Journal for Artists’ Books, Volume 12 No 1, Autumn – Winter 2017

Click to access The%20Blue%20NoteBook.pdf


2007 the book, the poet, the artist and the breakthrough, Noreen Grahame, Artlink, vol. 27, no. 1, pp.68-71

2000 Craft from Scratch, Frankfurt International Craft Triennale, Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Germany, p.65 & p.181

1997 SOLOMON, EyeRhymes Conference, University of Alberta, Canada

1996 From Silksceen to Computer Screen: 20 years of the Fremantle Print Award, p.40

1996 Artists’ Books and Multiples Fair Catalogue, Numero Uno Publication

1995 A shift in Latitude, John Kean, Imprint, Vol 30, No. 3, p.16

1995 Fremantle Arts Review, Vol. 10, No. 2, p13 & cover image

1995 The 20th Fremantle Print Award Catalogue



SOLOMON is held in these collections:

National Library of Australia, Canberra

Fremantle City Collection, Fremantle, Western Australia

Curtin University Collection, Perth, Western Australia

Australian Library of Art at State Library of Queensland, Brisbane

Artspace Mackay, Mackay, Queensland

State Library of New South Wales, Sydney

Centre for the Artist Book, Brisbane

University of Queensland, Brisbane

collection of the artist and one private collection.