I was pretty excited to find out that The Coloradoan had put the story of my friend’s murder and how it transformed my art on the front page today! It is hard to believe it has been almost twenty years since Mike’s murder. It is an honor to tell the story in the hopes of expanding compassion and understanding.
Jennifer Davey Studio Log
“My purpose in painting and life is to transform the root of violence caused by ignorance”
Today is a poignant day for me. It is the opening of the exhibit 5 Locals at my alma mater, Colorado State University. The work I am sharing in this show all centers around violence. It explores both the personal and public impacts violence has on our souls, our creativity, and our joy. This exhibit feels like an amazing return home as it was in art school at CSU in 1999, when a dear friend was murdered. In a recent conversation with a close friend, I realized it was a story that I rarely shared in relation to my art making, despite the fact it was the reason I understood art’s power. She helped me see that this story in fact revealed my purpose as an artist and that sharing this story was a means of honoring my friend. Violence occurs at so many different levels both in our society at large and within our individual beings. I believe this is not normal, nor is it how we were designed. In sharing this story, it is my hope that it will shine a light on violence and its terrible impact. Violence interrupts our true nature, impinging on our joy and our ability for connection and creation of a meaningful life.
5 Locals: Jennie Milner, Joe Norman, David Young, Madeline Wilson and Jennifer Davey
September 25, 2018 to November 3, 2018 | Opening Reception Sept 25 4:30-6:00 pm
Jennifer Davey: Artist Talk October 9, 2018 12:00-12:40 pm Curfman Gallery
Curfman Gallery, Lory Student Center, Colorado State University 80523
Studio tour wrapped up this weekend. One of the best gifts from this studio tour was the number of times different visitors unintentionally reminded me about projects I had been working on but had left behind for various reasons. It was like this little whisper of inspiration each time someone said, what about...? Or tell me about this painting... One visit in particular has inspired direct action. A couple saw the painting "Joy" in my portfolio. This painting has found a home, but it sparked the conversation about my desire to create a copy of this painting. I have taken the opportunity of Artworks upcoming Square Foot fundraiser (Friday November 3rd at Artworks) to re-ignite the study of this painting. I am making a 12x12 inch and 24x24 inch study of the painting "Joy" as a means to study the form of this painting, with the ultimate goal of creating a full-size 48x48 inch re-creation of the painting. There are so many wonderful questions that arise by copying. Is the original or the copy more valuable? Can discipline and study create joy? Is spontaneity essential to the life of the painting? In the image above you can see layer two of the process. I will be working on and posting about this painting as it develops. Below is the final version of the original painting "Joy".
Joy, 2016. Oil, chalk, and collage on panel, 48 x 48 inches. Jennifer Davey
Eclipse Trip 2017: I had no idea a 4 day road trip to South Dakota and Wyoming, to see the tourist sights, with the end goal of viewing the Great American Eclipse, would impact me so profoundly. The first night began with a visit to Devil's Tower, with a trip during the day, as well as a return visit at night. As I sat at the base of the tower that night with silence and stars above, I was struck by how grounded and small, or actually, right-sized, I felt. My place in the universe felt both brief and miraculous. Earlier, in the visitor center, I read a passage about the different perspectives of Western religions and Native American religions. Western religions tend to be time based, viewing the world through the lense of important events in a linear history, while Native American religions tend to be place based, viewing the world through the lense of sacred places. Sitting at the foot of Devil's Tower, I could feel this profound sense of place and groundedness. It has made me curious as to how my relationship to the land would change if I viewed things through the lense of sacred place. It also has made me question how I paint, and how else I might paint. My process is steeped in the thought and tradition of the West, using time to build up layers of paint, creating a linear history, that in relation to my experience sitting at the foot of this ancient rock, felt very cerebral and disconnected to the land.
The next day, we visited Jewel Cave, just outside of Custer, South Dakota. Now, I was entering into the earth, exploring a small fraction of the massive under ground cave structure that has built up over millions of years. Rather than looking up into the vast galaxies and universes of the stars, I was going inward, into a structure that literally looked like the bowels of the earth. Again, this place felt grounded and strong, with its history standing in sharp contrast to my very brief human life. Each turn revealed a new rock formation along with tunnels leading to unknown parts of this ever-unfolding underground labyrinth. The tour guide revealed that mapping of the caves was still done by hand. Explorers use laser pointers to determine the depth of rock formations and then draw their findings using paper and pencil. This made me think about mapping in general. Especially because the cave did often look like the interior of a human, I wondered about the relationship between the microcosm and the macrocosm. Is there a way to map the interior psychology of the human, which can sometimes seem as complex, mysterious and hidden as this under ground cave?
Finally, the trip ended with the viewing of the eclipse. What an unexpectedly profound and exciting experience! We were stationed just between Lusk and Jay Em, Wyoming with a clear view of the sun and a wide open prairie and 4 distinctive buttes to frame our viewing experience. As the moon slowly crept in front of the sun, the light turned a metallic dim grey and the temperature dropped at least 20 degrees. About ten minutes before the total eclipse the sound of cicadas filled the air as they were fooled into thinking dusk was near. Then, as if someone flipped a switch, it turned dark. A ring of soft dusky pink rimmed the earth at the horizon line and the sun now appeared as a black ball surrounded by a bright ring of white. It was so shocking and inspiring I could hardly take it all in. And before I knew it, it was over. I so wanted to hit replay and make it last. But this stunning moment of awe was brief and profound. Again, I felt very small and that whatever concerns I had last week about...well, pretty much about anything...were irrelevant. Somehow I was a tiny human on this spinning planet earth, mysteriously and profoundly lucky to be alive. What an amazing experience. This whole trip has expanded my lense of life and made me more curious and inspired. It is a very short time that we are alive and there is so much to see, explore and learn. There is also so much I miss due to my daily micro-concerns. I hope to integrate what I experienced into the studio and to life, remembering to be more adventurous, curious, and grateful.