For the month of October, SALT Gallery will feature “Atmospheric Tendencies,” a new collection of serene oil paintings and block prints by local artist Sarah Plaia Davidson. An opening reception takes place from 6-8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 5.
Davidson’s informal artistic education began at a young age. As the daughter of a painter and letter writer, she says, creating has been a part of her process since her earliest memory.
She has worked in multiple media throughout her artistic career.
“My painting hero is Agnes Martin,” she says. “Even her writings inspire me. But,” she adds, “I’m inspired by all art, honestly.
“The spark and the creative flow personally arise from a narrative. Painting, sculpture — whatever medium I’m working with —is just a story that has to be told. Mostly, my finished pieces feel like an old friend I haven’t seen in a long while … they’re always welcomed.”
A visitor to Key West since the 1990s, Davidson pulls a lot of her inspiration from the tropical landscape.
“Well, first there’s the water,” she explains. “As they say, it soothes the savage beast, and I am no exception.
“Secondly, the salt. Elementally, it removes what is not wanted. The salt is also a great conductor, so I find Key West to be quite magical in that way. Endless sky and water speak to me as an artist because my work organically moves toward the minimal. I love the soft palette, the soft ground plane. It’s both empty and full at the same time.”
Gallery co-owner Laura Richardson says Davidson’s pieces “convey a palpable sense of tranquility.
“We are so excited to reintroduce Key West to such an incredible artist whose pieces are so evocative of the calmness of our island home.”
The exhibition at SALT, titled “Atmospheric Tendencies,” consists mostly of oil pieces but also includes Davidson’s block-printed prayer flag notecards.
“The images arose from marks made responding to recurring sounds available on the island,” the artist explains. “I’ve been spending a lot of time listening, particularly since the storm last fall. My color palette is referential to the location of the sounds, sort of like a time stamp. This body of work really speaks to the idea of surrender, surrender, surrender.
“My last series of works were acrylic, but I was in the desert then — that’s a whole other way of being,” she adds. “So, I’m back in love with the lusciousness of oils … it’s incredible.
“Also, working with paintings entirely is new for me. I’m also a sculptor and I use 3-D as a particular vehicle for telling my story. It’s been wonderful and challenging working strictly ‘from the wall’.”
SALT Gallery features an eclectic collection of local art, sea salts, jewelry, pottery, wine and Florida Keys honey. Ms. Richardson and co-owner Maria Sharpe showcase a new artist each month. Davidson’s work will remain on display through October.
For more information, call 305-517- 6088 or visit www.saltislandprovisions.com. ¦