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The Art of Transcendence

WEB-EXCLUSIVE: Deborah Davidson's Uncommon Occurrences at Sue Greenwood Fine Art takes the mind off canvas.

'Falling Down'

Sue Greenwood Fine Art    
November 4-27, 2010
330 N. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach
949.494.0669 :: suegreenwoodfineart.com
:: deborahdavidsonart.com

Deborah Davidson reflects on life’s existential issues - interactions and relationships between humans and the ethereal - transcendent ideas that permeate her paintings. In Uncommon Occurrences, Davidson gets profound points across through masterful skills and intimate and surreal imagery. Her magical settings are inhabited by simple yet familiar quirky characters and objects. These poignant compositions become symbolic signposts that lead our thoughts off the canvas to an abstract world where our individual and psychological interpretations inevitably trigger deeper levels of contemplation and appreciation of art.

Considering the idea that all our lives human beings are tethered to the flesh, Davidson creates There’s Got to be More than Flesh and Bones, based on a phrase from a Tom Waits song. An exquisitely painted blue parakeet is gracefully perched on a stick while tethered to a curved and sensuous wishbone below. This straightforward configuration is mesmerizing, particularly the figures, colors and mood they evoke. Davidson, who prepares each panel, uses labor-intensive, tried-and-true, old-fashioned methods of meticulously preparing the undersurface with her own ground chalk gesso, dry pigments such as Venetian red or yellow ochre, and then sanding scrupulously until the panel is ready to welcome the image onto its surface. The final oil painting has a timeless look, yet its message speaks to our contemporary spirit.

Then there is Falling Down, one of Davidson’s best paintings. A long, horizontal, amber-colored image glows from beneath its surface. It is pure symbolism that for Davidson represents creativity and how ideas mysteriously come down to us. In the sky above, looking much like architecture is a double row of glowing wooden matchsticks - the genesis of a creative thought. A horizon line denotes the earth below where two empty row boats lie. The boats represent mundane objects in familiar settings that populate much of the world. Surprisingly, creativity comes down from an indeterminable, ethereal place. From where and how, we do not know; but the artistic soul, such as Davidson’s, humbly appreciates it.   

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