Curator’s Thoughts

Hello, Susannah Morgan here.  I am assistant director at Davis Gallery, and was lucky enough to have the opportunity to curate our current show: Face Value.

The four artists in this show are so disparate and yet share common themes.  When I was developing the idea for this show, I was thinking about how we see people.  How we see and process faces particularly interested me. I chose each of these artists because they are exploring specific facets of identity in compelling ways.

Leon Alesi’s work is deceptively simple. Within the images there is an incredible wealth of information about each subject.  The setting of each piece potentially tells us more about the subject than the subject themselves.  Each portrait session is an intimate affair in which barriers are taken down, and clues to the true nature (if there is such a thing) of the subject is revealed.  I also love that in some of the pieces, there are portraits within portraits.  Some of the subjects are sitting in front of images of themselves whether in mirrors, reflections, or in actual portraits.

Leon Alesi, Stephanie, photograph on archival paper

Leon Alesi, Stephanie, photograph on archival paper

Jamie Panzer’s work plays more with our actual eyes and how we process faces and images on a biological level.  He brilliantly combines elements from other sources to create compelling images that challenge our eyes and our brains to look deeper.  This in turn makes us feel something.  His collages are of no one in particular, but elements of the familiar pop out at you if you look long enough. A certain amount of dark humor is present in Panzer’s work as well.  He combines charming and wholesome retro images with images of war, violence, and raw meat.

Jamie Panzer, Experiments in Portraiture #15, paper collage

Jamie Panzer, Experiments in Portraiture #15, paper collage

Scott David Gordon is genuinely interested in people and what makes them who they are.  The photographs I selected for the show are from a panoramic series of artists in the act of creating in their studios, or posing with their tools and instruments.  The individual is repeated several times in the photographs.  This repetition tells a story, either of the subject’s creative process, or of their creative spirit.  The level of detail in each photograph draws viewers in close.  That closeness creates an intimacy between the photograph and the viewer.

Lacey Richter, photograph on archival paper

Lacey Richter, photograph on archival paper

Lesley Nowlin’s work in this show comes from a deeply personal point of view.  She herself is a twin, and her work explores the complexities of twin relationships.  She uses the physical process and materials more than the subject to explore those themes.  Each image is comprised of prints printed on as many as 24 pieces, layered with gold, silver, or copper leaf, vellum, and varnish.  Throughout this process, each individual print develops small “imperfections” which reflects how human beings (even twins!) develop and become unique individuals with their own “imperfections”.


Lesley Nowlin, Being a Twin, Elements: Water, platinum print on vellum composition gold leaf

My hope for this show is that through the act of looking and seeing, viewers develop different ways of looking at the world, and carry that over into their lives.  To me, the pieces in this exhibition are living things, and will only improve with time.  All pieces are available for purchase in numbered editions.

This show is on view through October 18, with an artist talk on Wednesday October 1 from 6-8pm.  I look forward to seeing you at the gallery!

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