Virginia Davis: New Canvases
Date: Apr 1 - Apr 25, 1993
Artist: Virginia Davis
Virginia Davis challenges the boundaries between weaving and painting in this 1993 solo exhibition. Her exquisite handling of the ikat technique (a process by which threads are dyed prior to weaving thereby imbedding each with colour) spotlights the optical qualities of cloth rather than the tactile.
Virginia Davis, 1993
I literally weave a painter's linen canvas similar to the sort that can be purchased from artists' materials suppliers. Ikat techniques - dyeing and painting the yarn before weaving - enable colour and image to be embedded in the woven structure and locked inside the canvas. From a 1990s perspective, my work examines and reinterprets minimalism in the context of the symbolic significance of textile imagery. I comment on the materials of art, referencing the 16th century transition from images realized in fresco or on wood, to painting on fabric (oil on linen). The image is inside the canvas in my deconstructed paintings.
Formally, the work explores optical aspects of vision and nuances of value contrast. Colour reflects light differently depending on whether it is placed in the warp or weft. The representation of space occurs through colour overlay; there is a play of edge, hard and feathered. Theme and variation interact and cumulate, stimulating a meditative feeling. The work raises questions, pushes boundaries and challenges old definitions.
Virginia Davis is an artist who lives and works in New York City. She has exhibited internationally and she is an influential teacher. She recently received a Visual Artist's Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.