OPINION ABOUT THE PAINTINGS OF MALCOLM M DAVIS
Rupert Stone, Art Critic, www.pseudonum.art
The colors on his paintings do not merge, blend or overlap. They are bordered by crisp, sharp edges. All the paintings are of a man made object. He makes a cardboard model which may depict a man made object. He makes a cardboard model which may depict a man made subject, such as Boston's lower Charles River basin. The model may represent a natural object such as the valley of the Chama River in northwest New Mexico or a channel between two small Maine coast islands.
The subject, whether man made or natural, is interpreted via several stages by the artist. The initial step is a sincere interest to study the subject and, in the process, to coax a way to represent the subject abstractly. In this early stage, photography is employed to record the colors inherent in the subject. Examples are the canyon walls with various rock strata and the contiguous vegetation, or the building and bridge colors of the lower basin.
The model requires several iterations to physically, yet abstractly, convey what is present along the banks or in the variety of river crossings. A channel of tidal water is more complex. The model contends with flow, depth, shore conditions and their interaction over time. Each model is three dimensional and offers, in light, a play of shadows. It is this model which offers multiple sides to inform a variety of paintings of the subject.
The average viewer of the painting sees the color of the subject and guesses at its three dimensionality by inference from the shadows. The abruptness of the color boundaries is distinctive, and normal when recalling a man made object. The title of the painting guides the viewer to a firmer understanding of the subject being depicted. The realm of colorful abstraction is perceived.
All his paintings are based on this methodology. First a real subject, then a model to express the subject abstractly, followed by a series of paintings of the model employing the actual colors of the subject. These subjects include irrigation in northern New Mexico, lobstering in Maine, subways crossing below Boston and flights at Logan Airport – to name a few in his portfolio. I am looking forward to more of his paintings.