This painting, and its pair, Negative Eye Positive Eye No. 2, are recent works from Haida artist Robert Davidson and both were included in his solo show "Robert Davidson: Progression of Form" which took place in the summer of 2015 at the Gordon Smith Gallery of Canadian Art. The show focused on Davidson's most recent pieces, featuring his more abstract work. From the Exhibition catalogue, Davidson states, "The Art is like any other language. Once one has an understanding and knowledge of the vocabulary, one can expand with confidence with that knowledge. In other words there are boundless possibilities within the vocabulary of Northwest Coast Art"
Ian M. Thom on Negative eye Positive eye No. 1 & No. 2 (again from the catalogue):
"Davidson's sense of visual play is evident in several of his works and is clearly seen in the pair of eye paintings from 2011. Negative Eye Positive Eye No. 1 and Negative Eye Positive Eye No. 2 are essentially mirror images of each other in composition but Davidson is unwilling to leave the visual solutions simple. The titles refer to the fact that in each a line that is at one point positive becomes a negative shape for the succeeding eye shape and vice versa. He has also varied the use of colour and, as a consequence, the two works read quite differently. As Davidson explains, 'The line there, the orange formline becomes the tertiary line in the second one and the yellow does the opposite. Ans so do the blue and the green and so it is really contrasting – one is negative and the other is positive. So I am just playing with the space and I really liked the initial idea'
The first is cool and cerebral and the second is fiery and more emotive. These two works are a testament to Davidson's ability to work with a formal concept and revel in both the similarities and differences of the compositions. "