Minding the Body with Lynn Davison



Allyn Gallup Contemporary Art Gallery celebrates tonight’s First Friday with a mid-season surprise in New Work x 3, a group exhibition opening tonight and featuring new works from three local artists—Jean Blackburn, Susan Zukowsky and Lynn Davison. Blackburn, a painter and a naturalist, continues her series on the waters of Myakka, bucking chemical convention and bringing oil and its immiscible partner together to great success, while Zukowsky brings collage and mixed media to the walls, as well as a pair of small sculptures commenting on the Parkland and Pulse shootings. Davison brings a whole slew of large-scale oil paintings made in the last 18 months, and reminding audiences of her very particular set of skills.

Commanding near half the gallery, Davison’s work seems to imply a sum greater than its parts, like the unwritten mythology of a questionable pantheon and its dogged heroes— the heightened reality of a low world, populated by lost and titanic figures, vulnerable and naked, but unapologetic all the same. “There’s something almost biblical about it,” says Mark Ormond, who curated the exhibition. Moving close to the canvas, he points to the precision of the human form captured in the hands, the feet, the shins—the attention to detail and mastery of anatomy and flesh that makes him think of Michelangelo and The Last Judgment. “Her work is really an extension of the Baroque Period,” he says.

And that mastery comes from 35 years of practice, relentlessly pursuing the precision Ormond so admires. Indeed, for Davison, the human form holds all the mystery and draw she’ll ever need. “I’ve never been interested in anything else,” she admits. Eschewing still life and landscapes and the endless abyss of abstraction, Davison’s focus remains razor-sharp on that one thing which, when mastered, can say all things. “The human body can say anything and everything,” she says. “What else is there?” And so she conjures these scenes from her imagination, populating them with the lumpen and shock-haired creations whose every curve and gesture, brought to life under her skilled brush, can tell a story.

New Work x 3 opens tonight at Allyn Gallup Contemporary Art, with a reception with the artists at 5:30pm, and will be on display through March 31.

Pictured: "Dumbo's Magic Feather" by Lynn Davison.

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