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Within their deceptive simplicity, Davis’s works synthesize issues
relevant to contemporary art and art history. Idioms of formalist art
converge with those of traditional textiles. Seemingly casual geometry
evokes phenomena of visual perception such as the illusion of multiple
planes. As a play of intellectual and visual ideas, Davis’s work
challenges definitions of both art and craft.
Excerpt from a review by Patricia Malarcher of "Constructed Canvases/Embedded Images" at the NOHO Gallery.
Double ikat in handwoven linen
According to the artist, her themes fall into three categories:
the exploration of optical phenomena, landscape, and weaving
techniques. Her resulting art work is an ongoing discourse about color
theory, the shared grid of minimalist painting and woven textiles,
visual rhythm and repetition, human perception, the disparity between
painted and woven images, and the history of textile techniques and
their human use… Art about art. Canvases about canvas. Light about
light. Textiles about other textiles. Dye about paint and paint about
dye. The work of Virginia Davis is thoughtful, elegant, understated,
and bold. Clearly it adds an absolutely original chapter to the
history of the international contemporary fiber movement.
The Red & the Black 2 30"x60". Pigment in handwoven linen canvas
Much of her work engagingly fools the eye, casting optical illusions that challenge the best of op art. Her flat weavings can appear three dimensional, with precisely arranged colors and textures converying depth. Here too, she merges old with new...austere geometric patterns reminiscent of the minimalist canvasses of Frank Stella or Agnes Martin. She explores the possibilities of double layers,...and additive processes, such as painting on her weavings with a variety of materials that reflect light in different ways... Her aim is...to blur the boundaries between weaving and painting, and to confront the notions that distinguish craft from fine art... Victoria Alba, Fiberarts, Mar/Apr, 2000
Acrylic, handwoven linen.
Virginia Davis makes "weavings about weaving"...Davis conveys in her
work a message about the erasure of the gulf between the crafts and
fine arts. Although the technical basis of her work has been ikat
weaving for nearly two decades, she has begun to paint on the surface
of her weavings...Technique supports and complements the conceptual
basis of Davis's work as a thoughful exploration of theme and
Davis's cloth is about seeing not touching. In her interplay of dye
and paint she examines how color is placed on cloth and on
canvas...Using thread as a magnifying class she writes her own history
of artists' materials...She does not require the loom to do anything
extraordinary. She weaves cloth and saturates it with color,
superimposing the history of painting on the history of textiles.
Virginia Davis has achieved a feat that is rarely accomplished, she
uses the loom as a conceptual tool...
Margo Mensing, Fiberarts, Sept/Oct, 1995