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Mathew Davis

In the summer of 1991, having been awarded the Aidan Threlfall Travel Award, I travelled to USA for about two months

My first stop was New York, where I visited all the major art museums including MOMA, Whitney Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art. I was particularly excited about seeing paintings by Phillip Guston, who I was obsessed by at the time. But I also remember being inspired by seeing works by Edward Hopper, Chuck Close, Milton Avery, Clyfford Still, Willem de Kooning, Joan Mitchell, Richard Diebenkorn, artists all of which have influenced my practice in one way or another.

After ten days in New York, I drove south towards New Orleans in an old Cadillac which I bought for $100. Unfortunately, the car broke down before reaching New Orleans and I had to continue the journey on a Greyhound Bus. While I was waiting for the bus, at the Greyhound Station somewhere in the hills of North Carolina, a group of about fifty native American men walked in. They all had mohican haircuts and looked pretty intimidating. It turned out they were working as extras in a film called Last of the Mohicans.

In New Orleans, as well as visiting some of the world famous jazz and blues club, I also went to the NOMA (New Orleans Modern Art), where I remember seeing paintings by Alex Katz for the first time and some very interesting Kandinsky drawings.

I loved the architecture of Chicago particularity the early Skyscrapers of the 19th century. I made frequent visits to the Chicago Institute of Art where I saw a fantastic exhibition by Georgia O’Keeffe, as well as thousands of pieces from the permanent collection.

I had a very memorable and inspiring trip and a valuable experience.