Ouachita Baptist University’s Department of Visual Arts will host Seattle artist Margaret Davidson in a guest exhibit featuring her drawings Oct. 7-Nov. 8. The exhibit will be in Hammons Gallery in Mabee Fine Arts and is free and open to the public.
Davidson also will present a gallery talk Thursday, Oct. 17, at 3 p.m. in Hammons Gallery. She will present a drawing workshop Friday, Oct. 18, from 9 a.m. to noon on the second floor of Moses-Provine. The workshop is free and open to the public, but participants are asked to reserve a place ahead of time.
“As a studio art major who is interested in illustration, I’ve been eager to have an illustrator visit Ouachita,” said Katie Hopmann, a senior studio art major from Cypress, Texas. “I think her exhibit will expose art students to how drawing can be functional as well as aesthetically pleasing. Her scientific illustrations have been published in books and journal articles, but they stand alone as beautiful pieces of art.”
Davidson is an artist, illustrator and author, and Ouachita’s Drawing I class uses her textbook, “Contemporary Drawing: Key Concepts and Techniques.” She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Michigan and her Master of Fine Arts from the University of Washington. She currently teaches courses in drawing at Gage Academy of Art in Seattle.
“We are excited to have not only a great artist on campus but also the author of one of our course textbooks,” said Donnie Copeland, assistant professor of visual arts and chair of OBU’s Department of Visual Arts. “She creates works intended for print and for the gallery, but it all evokes awe and wonder.”
In her upcoming exhibit, Davidson explores the relationship between mark and surface and the illusion associated with drawing as well as drawing on unexpected surfaces.
“I think that the fact that the drawing mark and the surface are real, while the image created by them is illusory, is intriguing,” Davidson explained in her artist’s statement. “This is why I draw on things other than paper, things like wooden sticks and bowls and dried leaves.”
The exhibit will feature a variety of works on paper and on 3-D surfaces, with the main subject matter being buttons. While buttons may seem like an unusual item to focus on, Davidson finds interest in the variety of meanings, from ancient “circle-dot symbols” to women’s work.
“They signify the many centuries of unnoticed labor on ordinary, daily, household chores,” Davidson noted. “It is a labor that quietly keeps the world in order, and, as with many repetitive tasks, sometimes lets the mind soar to universal or cosmic heights.
“Buttons also serve as a form that, whether drawn very realistically or in the simplest and most abbreviated way, speaks to the viewer as a recognizable thing, a small, flat disc that could conceivably be really there,” she added. Even as these meanings vary, she said, “one interpretation is always there in all the drawings: the buttons indicate a human presence.”
Regular gallery hours for the exhibit are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The exhibit is also available during evenings when other School of Fine Arts events are held in Mabee Fine Arts Center. For more information, contact Donnie Copeland at email@example.com or (870) 245-5559.
By Molly Anne Turner