You came in for a cute pair of cropped pants and left with new art for your walls.
Probably the pants, too.
Shoppers at RussoRoss in Towne Center not only can browse the boutique for the latest trends, but also “Celebrate the Art of Sandy Davoren,” in an exhibit that will be up through Thurday.
Davoren’s art is an explosion of color that complements the shop’s atmosphere.
And the faceless figures in her pieces are most intriguing.
“I started out working with cutouts,” Davoren says.
She stands next to a series of small collages featuring art deco prints of 1920s-style women. They are a part of her evolution as an artist, an intricate part leading to where her work is now.
“I liked working on these, but I wanted the figures to be mine,” she says.
So the women became faceless. They could be anybody anywhere. They not only said more within Davoren’s artwork, but about it.
“This work is about incorporating things that happened to me in my formative years, things that gave me a sense of self,” Davoren says. “It’s about the people that I loved who taught me things.”
One of those people was Davoren’s grandmother, who taught the artist how to sew. Look closely at her most recent collages. Each figure has been printed by hand, but look even closer.
“I wanted to do bigger works, but I was limited because my printing plates are small,” Davoren says. “I use monoprint paper, and I hand print them one at a time. So I’ve sewn the prints together. I use a sewing machine, the way I was taught by my grandmother. That’s the way I incorporate her into my work.”
Davoren turned to art after leaving the business world. Her first medium was black and white photography, which gradually evolved into collage work.
“I took a class at the Red Shoes, and I was at a point where my work and professional life ended, and I didn’t have money for a darkroom,” she says. “I’ve always been interested in the figure, and six years ago I began trying to figure out how my life evolved as an artist.”
That’s when Davoren began seeing her own story unfold within the artwork. Her first set of collages were made up of figures cut from magazines and sewing patterns. Some of those pieces are included in this show.
Then came the dreamy art deco pieces with the magical 1920s ladies. But the images were someone else’s faces representing a time that wasn’t Davoren’s.
So Davoren began thinking about who she is, what she likes.
“I’m a girl of the ’60s, and I like the way women have morphed over the years,” she says. “We’re constantly changing, and I wanted my work to be about things that I completely generated. I decided not to give them faces. I want them to be anonymous; I didn’t want them to be identified.”
Her printmaking was in play by that time, and even it continues to evolve — an abstract painting she created in a class serves as the backdrop of her most recent print, “Wicked Ladies,” where three female figures could represent a mix of personalities. The first is confident, the second demure and the last is celebratory.
Still, all could tell a story of the different sides of one woman, a story Davoren knows well.
Because it’s her story, and it continues through her artwork.