Davis Gallery artists at the Red Dot Art Spree

We stopped in Women and their Work gallery last night to view this year’s Red Dot Art Spree.   We spotted several Davis Gallery artists on the wall.  We couldn’t be more pleased that they are participating in this fun event!  Most of the artists on view are from the Austin area and beyond into the state of Texas.  Davis Gallery artists participating: David Hefner, David Leonard, Gladys Poorte, David Everett, and Sandra Langston.  A work by Hollis Hammonds is also on view.  Hollis will be participating in our next show at Davis Gallery: Constructs, new work by Gladys Poorte and Hollis Hammonds.  That will be a fantastic show!

David Leonard

David Leonard

Sandra Langston

Sandra Langston

David Leonard

David Hefner

Gladys Poorte

Gladys Poorte

Hollis Hammonds

Hollis Hammonds

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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”.

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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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Opening night for Face Value

Saturday night was opening night for Face Value, work by Leon Alesi, Scott David Gordon, Lesley Nowlin, and Jamie Panzer.  The evening was a huge success with many smiling faces.   We look forward to the artist talk on October 1st.   Check out our Facebook page to see a few installation shots.

The artists and curator Susannah Morgan will also be interviewed on KUT’s Arts Eclectic program, so keep your eyes and ears out for that!

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Artist Jamie Panzer (middle) and friends

About Face opening 6

Artist Scott David Gordon (left) and friends

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Artist Leon Alesi (left) and friends

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Artist Lesley Nowlin and gallery artist Christopher St Leger

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The work sparked many lively discussions!

Face Value Installation Week

It’s officially installation week here at Davis Gallery!  We are busy painting, cleaning, placing and hanging work!  It is a lot of hard work, collaboration, blood, sweat, and tears.

Freshly painted walls become a blank canvas.

Freshly painted walls become a blank canvas.

Placing the work

The show opens this Saturday September 6 at 7:00.  The party will go on until 9:00.  The exhibition will be on view through October 18 with a special artist talk on October 1st.  More on that later.  To keep your appetite whetted, read this interview with Lesley Nowlin on ILoveTexasPhoto.com.

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10 Questions with Scott David Gordon

We couldn’t be more thrilled that Scott David Gordon is participating in Face Value.  His enthusiasm for his work, and positivity are infectious and inspiring.  He has his own fantastic blog where he has been interviewing the subjects from his panoramic series.  We sat down with him to find out more about his inspirations, motivations, and the work itself.  Enjoy!

Austin,TX and beyond everyday. Panorama365 by Scott David Gordon

Scott David Gordon, Self Portrait

How did you get started?

Right at the end of High School I started shooting slide film with my Dad’s Canon AE-1. Those little square transparent images were magic to me and I thought then that photography could be something I could choose as a life pursuit.

Who or what has had a major impact on your career as an artist?

My grandmother’s brother was a painter and a hermit at the end of his life.  I have seen his paintings hanging on the wall my whole life.  Once I started getting into drawing and art as a kid I had a belief that somehow his talent must have been passed down to me and that it was in my blood.

Describe a typical day in the studio.

Nowadays a photographer spends a lot of time in front of the computer.  A lot of my work is self directed so its really up to me to get out and make it happen.  Everyday is different in a way which is a blessing.  Otherwise it would get boring.

Tell us a bit about your new work in the show.

These photos came out of an attempt at a year long project to create a panorama everyday for a year.  I made it eight months and had to stop because of the huge commitment of time it required.  The thing that stuck, that I really enjoyed the most, were the environmental shots of people.

Lacey Richter, photograph on archival paper

Lacey Richter, photograph on archival paper

If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?  

A film and theater actor.

When (if ever) do you feel that a piece is finished?  

After a fight with the perfectionist and I convince him to stop obsessing and let it go.

What was your first job?

I worked at a car wash vacuuming out cars.

Single best invention in your opinion.  

Because of what I do I have to say the digital camera.

What item would you be lost without?  

My camera.

And now for the most important question:  Who would you say has the best margarita in town?  

Polvos on South 1st.  I haven’t had a lot to compare but I like the whole package.

Face Value September 6- October 18, 2014

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Face Value opens Saturday September 6 from 7-9pm and runs through October 18, 2014.

There will be an artist talk on Wednesday October 1, from 6-8pm.

10 Questions with Lesley Nowlin

Davis Gallery is kicking off our Fall 2014 season with “Face Value“, an exhibition that explores how we perceive faces, and interpret personal identity for ourselves and others.  This show will include traditional portrait photography, collage, and elemental images. We are immensely proud to show the work of Leon Alesi, Scott David Gordon, Lesley Nowlin, and Jamie Panzer.

Lesley Nowlin is a photographer and conceptual artist based in Austin, TX.  She began photographing in her teenage years.  She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Hartford.  Her work focuses on posed subjects and creating a narrative world from her imagination.

Lesley Nowlin

Lesley Nowlin

How did you get started?

My dad photographed a lot when I was growing up.  When I was about 13 or 14, I remember him showing me how to meter light on a Leica Rangefinder in the backyard.

Who or what has had a major impact on your career?

My parents and my twin sister.

Describe a typical day in the studio.

First, I come up with my concept for the specific shoot. I schedule it with the twins and hair/makeup stylists.  Shoot usually takes 3-4 hours, all shot digitally with Canon 5D Mark II.  Go home and select through 400-500 images.  Usually edit 5-10 that I love. Then I hone in on 1-2 that are the best for my project. Visually edit the image with high contrast, cut the image (in Photoshop) into separate images for be printed individually. Most full pieces in this series are longest side 10-30 inches. Turn image into a visual negative (can take a while).  Print negatives. Go to darkroom and start printing platinum, line the vellum with composition leaf, flatten the prints between many processes. Varnish, cut, adhere together.  Final varnish.  Take to framer.

All of this can take up to a month to complete.

"Wind", platinum print on vellum composition gold leaf, 30 x 20

“Wind”, platinum print on vellum composition gold leaf

Tell us a bit about your new work in Face Value.

These pieces are an elemental reflection of the struggle and comfort you can find in being a twin. Throughout the years, growing up with someone by your side and having a partner since the womb can be a comforting and struggling experience. I’m hoping to show the angst of wanting to be different than your twin, and the natural calmness you feel of knowing your partner twin will always be there with you.  You don’t have to open your eyes to know their presence is there.  Twins have to learn partnership at a very early age.

If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?

A soccer coach or investigator.

When (if ever) do you feel like a piece is finished?

Usually when it’s framed and I can’t touch it again. I have to be good with it by then.

Single best invention in your opinion.

Electricity.

What item would you be lost without?

My camera.

And now for the most important question: Who would you say has the best margarita in town?

Hmm… hardest question!  Maybe La Condesa?  I should ask my husband, he drinks more margaritas than me!

Thanks Lesley!!

Face Value September 6- October 18, 2014

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Face Value opens September 6, reception from 7-9pm at Davis Gallery.   The show runs through October 18.

Check back for more interviews with other artists in the show!

In the studio with Christopher St Leger

We love studio visits! Earlier this week, we took a road trip out to Lockhart to visit Christopher St Leger in his charming, paint- spattered studio.

20140805_154813How did you get started?

My first start at getting started went on and then off almost seasonally (in my twenties). But the beginning of what it is now, which is to say an occupation that I practice or think about daily, happened most of all when I’d resigned myself from advancement thru formal education. It was hard to make this decision.

Who or what has had a major impact on your career as an artist?

Process has had the biggest impact. I latched onto individual paintings and worked through their content and method for years. I have had a postcard from an exhibition of watercolors by Ian Potts on my desk since 1997. This mixed with deviating for periods of time by working with abandon.

Watercolor is a special beast that is less concept-based and more practice-based which is why it’s usually referred to as a “tradition”. The focus is heavy on borrowed or inherited technique, sharing tricks such as scraping the paper with an x-acto knife for snow effect. Just go to the library and count all the how-to books.

Some folks I have managed to acquaint myself with personally have also had impacts: David Leonard, Jan Heaton, Lance Letscher, Leon Alesi, visual artists working in various media who are based around Austin, all have unique success strategies and tips (though nothing on how to create wispy snow in watercolor).

Describe a typical day in the studio.

I like to leave a painting unfinished so that when I return the following day I can pick right up. And though the whole thing is kind of a flowing experience, in recent cityscape work there are tedious parts of the painting that require planning. The playful parts that my 7 yr old son says look “easy” usually involve pouring and glazing. These are indeed fun but can also be the most intense. Creating atmosphere with edge to edge pours of permanent ink requires my attention at its fullest. If I make it look easy this is ok, but internally it’s when I don’t answer the phone or remember much of the conversation if I do. I can’t stop in the middle of this. So, the day is spent mostly between planning and pouring.

20140805_161604If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?

Too many things. Most available temptation, however, would be to insert myself gently into the rosy field of architecture. A stable and calm work environment, congenial team members, socially responsive housing projects, … Or a classical musician, with the same fuzziness.

When (if ever) do you feel that a piece is finished?

I used to think that you can’t really overwork watercolor. Lately, I’ve pushed this a bit. But you just know.

What was your first job?

construction sites and restaurants

Single best invention in your opinion.

the USA

What item would you be lost without?

my camera

Most important question: Who would you say has the best margarita in town?

Ranch 616.

20140805_161735Thanks for having us Chris!