John Davies was born in Cheshire in 1946. He studied painting at Hull and Manchester College of Art 1963–67, after which he spent two years at the Slade School of Fine Art, London. He was awarded a sculpture fellowship at Gloucester College of Art in 1989 and in the following year he won the Sainsbury award. John Davies currently lives and works in Kent and London.
A selection of solo and group exhibitions include: 9 Creative Truths, Torreón de Lozoya, Segovia, Summer Exhibition, Marlborough Fine Art; Dr d and other Drawings, Marlborough Graphics, London, (2006); Tate Sculpture: The Human Figure in British Art From Moore to Gormley, Millenium Galleries, Sheffield; Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao; Institut Valencià d’Art Modern, Valencia (2005); Marlborough Fine Art, London; Les Jeux dans l’Art du XXème Siècle, Le Bellevue, Biarritz; Palacio de Montemuzo, La Lonja, Zaragoza (2003); Contemporary British Sculpture, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice; Den Haag Sculptuur, Holland (1999); Marlborough Fine Art, London; Bodyworks, Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge (1997); Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester (1996); Centro de Arte Palacio Almundi, Murcia; Marlborough Fine Art, London (1993); Marlborough Graphics, London (1992); Marlborough Gallery, New York (1989); The Face, The Arkansas Art Centre, Arkansas (1988); A Singular Vision, Paintings of the Figure by Contemporary British Artists, Arts Council touring exhibition (1985); The Whitechapel Gallery (1972).
As one of the few sculptors working in expressionism in 1980s Britain, Davies made sculpture and drawings that referred directly to the human figure, rather than abstract works that were very fashionable at the time. Early figures were often arranged in carefully positioned relationships, playing out silent dramas through look and gesture, often in seemingly ritualistic poses. Davies’ figures are often cast in part from life, imbuing them with an integral sense of humanity. His early works were grey–painted, almost morose existentialist figures, but developed into bright, lively, colourful works.