Jill Daves: Chasing the Sun
gallery km is pleased to present our first solo exhibition by Los Angeles artist Jill Daves, Chasing the Sun. The exhibition consists of two parts, one in each of the gallery’s two exhibition rooms. The east gallery will host a site specific installation in which Daves uses repetitive mark making on the gallery walls, floor, and windows, spending multiple days in the space tracing the shadows created by the sun’s movement with colored pencil. In the west gallery, Daves will present several “Wood Grain Paintings” formed with abstracted tracings of oil paint on visibly-grained wood panel, ranging in size between 36 by 48 inches and 48 by 60 inches. The gallery will hold a reception for the artist on Saturday, July 14, from 6-8pm, and an artist talk on Saturday, July 28th at 2pm.
Daves’ work is invested in ideas of history, time and place, and the ways in which transient expressions of time reflect upon and alter physical space and individual patterns. In both her installation work and her discreet works on wood and paper, she explores the notions and sentiments attached to the overarching concepts of time/place—and the framework they create for the process of defining identity and meaning—as a constant nostalgic process of attempting to pin down the ephemeral. Rather than highlighting the center of any particular temporal narrative, however, Daves works on the margins, focusing on details that usually fall to the background. She describes herself as being “enamored with the unexceptional elements of life which are ignored, discounted, and dismissed” and by bringing focus to those elements, she attempts to “bring reverence to the lost, fleeting, and forgotten”.
In her site specific installation, part of a series she calls “Chasing the Sun”, Daves literally runs throughout the installation space trying to pin down and ‘catch up’ with shadows created by the sun’s movement before they disappear. Daves begins the process by imposing a set of rules of engagement for the installation, such as that she will draw for the same four hour period over four days. Formal considerations of color choice, thickness of line, and composition, are all subjugated to the primary goal of recording a moment that refuses the stillness necessary for verisimilitude. The resulting drawing is transient, never to be repeated, and thus solely defined by its surroundings within the moments of construction.
In her “Wood Grain Paintings”, Daves uses the existing wood grain patterns from the panels upon which she paints in order to reference the past already visually present in each panel. Again, she begins with a set of rules; in this instance, the number of times that she will trace the wood grain pattern in transparent oil glazes (which is then referenced in the parenthetical number in the title of the paintings). After tracing the initial pattern the specified number of times, she then improvises her own intuitive new pattern between the already existing ones. In so doing, Daves creates a dialogue between the year that is represented by the marks in the wood, and her own internal experience and recording of the present time. That both the original pattern and her improvised one fail as complete representations becomes the starting point for a dialogue about temporality, loss, and growth. As she states, “Referencing the patterns created by the wood panel’s inherent compilation, I expand a convergence of time, space, place, being, and adaptation. By doing this, the representation becomes not of the wood’s history. It becomes a representation of growth and symbiosis.”
Jill Daves received her MFA from the University of Illinois, and has exhibited her site-specific installations, paintings, and works on paper throughout the United States. She lives and works in Los Angeles.