Deb Klowden Mann: Welcome to Jill Daves’ Chasing the Sun.
Jill, I know one of the first things that people say when they come in is, ‘how do these two things—the paintings and the installation—relate, and where does the fascination with the sun come from?’
Jill Daves: They relate in the sense that both the paintings and the installation are really about the sun, and about marking time. The sun creates the wood, and it creates the wood grain as the tree grows every year. And in a sense, it’s a marking of time. In the wood grain it’s a marking of years, since each new line represents a year of life for the tree, and then whatever happens that we’re unaware of in that year is represented by the space between the grain. And in the site-specific piece, it’s so transient that those shadows will never happen again, and even while I’m making them they are changing. So they are both kind of about this romantic loss, of trying to capture the unattainable.
DKM: One of the other things I’ve been seeing is that people come in and immediately see these paintings as a very organic and intuitive, about this natural process of moving with nature, and relating to natural patterns. In talking to you, I know that this is definitely true, but you also talk about the work as having this obsessive and controlled quality to it. Could you talk about the process a bit, and then talk a bit about the conversation and tension between those two aspects?
JD: Well, with the paintings it’s about finding a structure and deciding how many times I’m going to repeat it. And it’s usually based loosely on how far apart the sections of manufactured wood grain are (since the wood I paint on is not what occurs in nature, but is pieced together by a manufacturing company to a desired width). Different kinds of wood have their grains farther apart, or more subtle grain patterns in between. And then I start following that grain…And if I decide to more than just the first pattern I chose it’s because I think it’s not working. [laughs] It’s sort of really intuitive, and so I don’t know really how to explain why…
DKM: I guess what I’m asking is how you choose which path or part of the grain to follow? It seems clear in some of the paintings that you followed the strongest elements of the grain, but in others not as structurally obvious, and I’m wondering how you chose?
JD: I think I intuitively choose the parts that speak most strongly to me. And what happens is when you do things where it repeats like that, the pattern overlaps itself and it just becomes thicker where the different sections join and they got smashed together.