From Girton Grammar to MOMA: Bendigo man Grant Davis makes a splash in the New York art world

Just last September, Grant Davis was a theatre technician at Girton Grammar School.

Today he becomes one of a select few artists who can boast having their work hung inside New York’s Museum of Modern Art.  

A photograph of a painting created by Mr Davis will feature in an exhibition of work by students from the hallowed gallery’s online art school.

The 24-by-24-inch canvas features hundred of grey dots painted inside a grid of graphite lines, all of which sit on top of a blue and red background.

For their final assignment, participants in the online course were asked to create a painting in the style of an artist who inspired them.

He chose New York School painter Agnes Martin, famous for her minimalist dot drawings.   

But Mr Davis also drew on the landscape he saw while on a recent road trip to the Kimberleys. 

“The colour of the ground, that red – and the fact it gets into everything – was inspiration,” he said.

MOMA is internationally renowned for its collection of works by mould-breaking modern artists, including Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Marcel Duchamp and Jackson Pollock.

Asked what it was like to have work exhibited alongside those greats of the art world, Mr Davis said he was overwhelmed.

“I've just been dabbling and, in a way, trying to find my own style,” he said.

“I've been mimicking these guys for a bit.”

The achievement was made all the more impressive by the fact the Kangaroo Flat resident only took up the hobby in 2017 while look for activities to occupy his time in retirement.   

He was not entirely new to visual art though, describing himself as a keen photographer.  

He will now turn his attention to the Rotary Easter Art Show, for which he has completed two abstract paintings of Bendigo viewed from above. 

As for the work featured in the MOMA exhibition, it no longer exists: Mr Davis painted over it, not entirely satisfied with the finished product.

“I decided to do it again, it was a bit patchy,” he said.

The photograph will be shown at MOMA until January 22.

Mr Davis said he would not be able to go to New York for the occasion but the gallery had promised to send him a photograph of his work on show, a way to remember his brush with artistic fame.