February 10, 2013

Art Review: Brilliant show a study in conceptual depth

By DANIEL KANY

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

Installation view of Cynthia Davis’ mixed-media exhibition at Coleman Burke Gallery in Brunswick.

Courtesy photos

click image to enlarge

“Writing, Page from Atlas With/In,” 2011, ink, gouache on paper.

Additional Photos Below

ART REVIEW

"STANDING NAVIGATION ON THE END OF A NEEDLE" -- MIXED MEDIA PICTURES BY CYNTHIA DAVIS

WHERE: Coleman Burke Gallery, 14 Maine St., Fort Andross Mill, Brunswick

WHEN: Through March 16 HOURS: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday or by appointment

INFO: 691-3854, 837-7154; colemanburke.com

These are the negative space forms from which the meandering red line of "In this room" was cut. The most amazing of these pieces has a seam along the top edge so that it feels like a state shape -- the abstract straight line pairs with/against the practical natural forms.

One of my favorite pieces is "True to scale," in which Davis makes a giant field of fish scale-like forms from bits of gut (think chitterlings) whose curved edges she paints red (think pork). Around/over this is a large, torn field of Davis' fancy post-war wallpaper. The textures dance with each other: Two vertical system patterns -- one natural, one decorative. They are flora and fauna; sea (fish) and land (flowers); parchment and paper; and so on.

There is something appealingly honest about Davis' work. She presents the decorative as serious. Her layered but flatly vertical logic is dedicated to literal surface and process narrative -- rather than implied space and illusion of past painting.

Her conceptualism may have theoretical heft, but it's fundamentally commonsensical.

Davis is working on site to make more pieces for the vast gallery space -- not something I would expect of an artist whose approach is so laborious, private and process-intensive. But the first piece -- a hanging net of wire springs and puzzle pieces -- has taken beautiful shape.

The only Maine show I have seen with comparable conceptual depth, range and rigor was Gabriella d'Italia's 2011 "Pieced" at CMCA -- which (coincidentally?) also featured a fiber/sewing idiom. But while d'Italia's work sizzles with destabilizing brilliance, Davis' features a quietly appealing and approachable range. It's not all perfect by any means, but "Standing" is a great show, and it should not be missed.

Freelance writer Daniel Kany is an art historian who lives in Cumberland. He can be contacted at:

dankany@gmail.com

 

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors


Additional Photos

click image to enlarge

“In this room,” 2011, silk and thread on paper.

  


Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)


 

Blogs

More PPH Blogs