Paper Houses - yellow
Paper Houses - red
Paper Houses - adobe
Truchas Series
Lobster Gut Series
Subways Crossing Series
Lower Basin Series
Color Column Series
Chama Valley Series
Buoy Strings Series
Sierra Nevada RR Series
Gallery House Series
Class One Railroads Model Photographs
Class One RR Series
Mergers & Acquisitions Series
Mergers & Acquisition Series Explanation
Airport Series Model Photographs
Airport Series
Airport Series Enlargements
Grenada Series
Color Traffic Series
Streams-Bogs Series
Rainbow Polyphony Series
Upland Series
Fashion Series



Structured Abstraction

Color is a painting's initial engagement with the viewer. At closer inspection, questions may form in the viewer's mind. For example, what is being conveyed by the painting? Has a conversation been established between the painter and the viewer? The painting's title may unlock understanding, perhaps an "aha".

My paintings are structured abstraction of a place, an event, a process or acknowedgement of an activity. Each of these is expressed abstractly through form with little or no attempt at pictorial representation. The structure of the painting consists of the interdependent parts in a definite pattern of organization. I employ only straight lines and simple blocks of color. Often, the color is graded from bright to dark to suggest shadow and three dimensionality.

Colors, straight edges, and shadows are combined to illustrate the motif of the painting, or the back story. With the Class One Railroad Series, I wanted to honor the nation's freight railroads with a proposed monument for a Mid-Western city park. The seven Class Ones are displayed with their merger/acquisition partners. There are thirty five railroads depicted on the pedestal shown in the model's seven photographs. The initial abstraction was to depict the railroads as pylon and to rank them by relative size and order of acquirement. Three large paintings were made of the model by viewing it with bright light from the left.

The large paintings are not pure abstraction as they do include steps, sky with clouds and scale human figures. Harvested from these large paintings are much purer abstract paintings. They are in the form of enlarged details which become the merger/acquisition paintings. These paintings have more pronounced facetting, more intense coloration, and a stronger three dimensionality. The 'real' elements vanish and the pure color is the attractive force.

The responsibility of the artist as a creator, is to determine the composition in all its aspects. I am creating form with the model. The subsequent paintings are depictions of sides of the model with shadows and in color. The culling of portions of the large paintings as enlargements, requires judgement of proportion and balance. The merger/acquisition compositions are a 'gift' from the long work which preceded. These paintings suggest the denser railroad community of the past. Locomotives' colorful liveries and bold heralds are now lost in history.

Malcolm Montague Davis
September 2011


450 Harrison Avenue, Suite 313, Boston, MA 02118Tel 617-266-0460 E-mail mmd@malcolmmontaguedavis.comStudio visit by appointment.