Mel Davis’s paintings catch the eye with their vitality and sustain that interest through complex harmonies of tone, style, and reference. Working with the traditional tools and subjects of her medium, the Berkeley-based painter collages varied styles of mark-making into new compositions: long thin brush strokes, hard-edged black zig-zags, and bold Matisse-like flora are all juxtaposed and set in dialogue. Despite this variety in subject matter, though, a singular taste-level and sense of aesthetic depth runs through each work.
The works can feel like a landscape of painting moments: all at once both a visual encounter—a confrontation of colors, a mirroring of forms—and a proposition about painting as a medium—its history and its process. A painter’s painter, Davis is deeply involved in conversations internal to the medium, but that’s not to say her work is academic. On the contrary, there’s a generousness to her vision and a loving passion in its execution. Maintaining her devotion to the tradition of painting, she develops it in ways both poetic and adventurous.
Mel Davis is a Berkeley, California based artist. She grew up in Montreal, graduated with a BFA at Concordia University and moved to the Bay Area to complete her MFA at The San Francisco Art Institute. She is part of numerous private and public collections and is the recipient of The Canada Council For The Arts Grant, The Irene Pijoan Memorial Award for Painting and the Pollock Krasner Foundation Award.