Jo Davidson has been practicing art since well before first exhibiting at Ray Hughes Gallery Brisbane in the late 70s.
She studied with SA artist Ruth Tuck throughout her teenage years and at SA School of Art in the 70s. In the early 80s she travelled throughout Europe for three years visiting biennales, art events, galleries, museums and cathedrals, and carrying out residencies in London, Amsterdam, Southern Franceand Venice Italy with her artist partner Stephen Killick. They have lived in Birdwood Mid North Coast NSW since 1986 Their son Jasper (festival ‘stage designer @togstoggles) anddaughter Nixi(fashion designer @nixikillick), with artist partners currently work in Victoria.
Jo makes paintings, drawings, prints, sculpture, installation, and soundscape. Her visual artis represented in state and private collections around Australia and overseas. She has held 17 solo shows &been in more than 30 groupexhibitions. In 2022 she curated and exhibited in several local exhibitions, completed 2 community murals, and finally exhibited hand casts of residents in Whiddon WeeWaa Aged care, with their recorded stories and portraits by photographer Kerry Wilson, at WeeWaa Regional Gallery, a project long delayed by Covid. After a motor vehicle accident in late 2020, she exhibited her paintings and works on paper from the time of the extreme fires, with Stephen Killick and Samone Turnbull ceramics in Adelaide West Gallery Therbarton .
Jo and Stephen have shared residencies in Gloucester Regional Gallery, Noosa Regional Gallery, Hobart Art School, London Air & Space Gallery UK, Island of PovegliaVenice Italy and Dalby Regional Gallery Qld.
From 2004-19 Jo worked part time for CACD organisation Beyond Empathy, as lead artist and project manager on Mubali, Sea of Bellies- BE's early childhood and maternal health strategy, creating plaster belly casts of young Indigenous Mums-to be, and training Indigenous Health Workers. This work was translated as Sea of Bellies, into communities in DerbyWA;Lismore; Armidale; Bowraville;Coffs Harbour,Nambucca,Taree and Forster on NSW MNC ; Redfern,Rozelle, and the Illawarra in NSW; Logan Woodridge,Capalaba, Strathpine and Salisbury in SEQ.www.seaofbellies.org.au. During NAIDOC 2018 ‘Because of Her We Can’, Jo curated and staged exhibitions of Indigenous painted belly casts for Beyond Empathy in Brisbane, Lismore, Barangaroo Sydney, Melbourne, and Moree. Jo has run many community workshops at regional galleries and local festivals. In 2014 she designed and built a 6m high Brolga puppet animated by 8 men for Beyond Empathy/MoreeGamilaroi Brolga Festival -performed outdoors, then staged at Sydney Theatre Company andin 2016 along with an interactive stage set, at Moree Town Hall. In 2012 Jo was commissioned by Beyond Empathy to design an Installation at NERAM in Armidale to articulate BE’s work across communities. In 2003, Jo worked alongside then PMHC Cultural planner Janet Cohen, as Project Manager on Confluence, the first Sculpture forum, prize and festival on Town Green in Port Macquarie. She was onthe Aquasculpturesteering committee, for subsequent festivals and a participating sculptor in the prize, submitting personal and collaborative works with Indigenous TAFE artists, as well as running community sculpture workshops alongside guest artists creating several large scale works.
Jo was an adviser on PMHC’s Artsand Cultural Development Advisory Committee for 10 years.
In 2015 Jo worked for Accessable Arts, building a giant Whale Tail with decorative help fromPort Macquarie artists with disabilities. Jo has completed numerous mural projects,most recently in 2022, stage 1 of a community mural for Hastings Coop as part of Wauchope Creative Festival and the Postcard additions, with the all abilities WRAP group, to the Wauchope Map project with Stephen Killick 2015;Kids Cancer Unit, Port Macquarie 2005; Wauchope Post Office Jesters Mural ‘97 (housed in Wauchope Arts Hall since 2012);Wauchope Arts Council Tree mural 2014; Werrikimbe Mural Bain Park Wauchope1999; Town Green Wauchope Indigenous TAFE Mural ’98; Long Flat School mural ’95.
She worked part time for 12 years as art teacher on Fine Arts and Indigenous Arts courses in Wauchope, Port Macquarie, Kempsey and Great LakesTAFES,and at a local primary school.
Throughout the 90s, Jo worked with local Slippry Sirkus and Bad Dags TheatreCompanies at Global Carnival in Bellingen,Wauchope Bago Festivals and other MNC festivals, building large scale puppets and lanterns, and performing soundtrack for several outdoor theatre extravaganzas.
In 2020 Jo was commissioned by PMHC to create a community playground sculpture at Rocks Ferry in Wauchope, incorporating a mural featuring drawings and artwork by Biripi children for Art Walk. Sadly the installation work was interrupted by extreme flood events- some of the sculptural elements enduredbut it remains incomplete.