Rachel Davis: Mustard Seed Garden

October 19 – December 20, 2008

Traywick Contemporary is pleased to present Mustard Seed Garden, an exhibition of recent works on paper by Portland-based artist Rachel Davis.

Rachel Davis paints in watercolor on paper to create radiant abstract works that have an intriguing combination of intensity and restraint. She has an ongoing fascination with what she calls “the science of the small” — a reference to the microscopic world of cells and their cycle of life, both real and imagined. Her work is most striking in its ability to visualize the many parts that make up a whole and in connecting the visible and the invisible.

Her most recent body of work is titled Mustard Seed Garden, which is also the name of a historic artists’ manual that catalogs all of the appropriate subject matter for Chinese landscape painting. Davis’ subject matter in this series begins with vernacular Chinese architecture, and through her hand, these improbable and complex structures become a vehicle for presenting ideas of home, with ties to both the ancient and the modern.

While these cultural and scientific issues are at the core of her work, Davis retains an immediacy that is a direct result of certain clarity in her pared-down abstractions. With visual references to the architecture of both the cellular world and the man-made world, she speaks eloquently about the underlying, unifying structure of life.

Born in the United Kingdom and currently living in Portland, OR, Rachel Davis received her fine arts degree from the University of Michigan School of Art in 1993.

Benicia Gantner

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