Reflections and Remarks at My Show Opening at Powell Books, September 6, 2018

The opening of my gallery show at Powell Books in Portland on September 6th was an opportunity to show the world a peek at the pivot I’ve taken in my artwork this year. This pivot has been intentional, and is still in progress. And—I’ve brought a class full of students along for the ride! Teaching, making, and doing are so intertwined for me, and I knew that I wanted to share the process of making a pivot and developing a brand-new body of work with other artists who were interested in doing the same.

My yearlong virtual course, Let’s Go Deep, has provided the structure for me to move into a new direction with my work while showing the students how I’m doing it and guiding them as they explore the same process on their own. We began with exploring our values and discovering the why behind our work. We next focused on the how. I then created an “Art and Design 101” component to ensure that we all had the requisite understanding and vocabulary to examine and discuss our work and the work of others.

Meanwhile, we’ve been creating lots of work! We’ve also learned to look at our work in different ways: to cut it apart and rearrange it, to group it and look for common threads, and to experiment like crazy.

I have a successful body of work based on rich, layered botanical paintings. I wanted to move away from that and try something new that would express something else from the stories that I have to tell. The journey I took while creating the paintings for the Powell’s Books show excites me, because I can see that I’m on a path that is just as promising as I’d dreamed. I’m going to keep meandering down this new path, exploring and experimenting!

As I prepared my welcoming remarks for the show opening, I could see how my painting career is a delightful journey of exploration and constant learning. I find that much of my “Aha!” learning moments take place while teaching; clearly teaching goes hand in hand with learning for me.

I looked around at the friends, students, Let’s Go Deep participants, and supporters who listened as I delivered my talk at the opening, and I was filled with gratitude.

My show at Powell’s Books runs until Oct 2. If you’re in the Portland area, I hope you’ll come take a look.

All photos above by Catalina Garreton

Annamieka Davidson