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Palli Davene Davis

July 2022

Palli Davene Davis

Palli Davene Davis, a visual artist from Wakeman, OH, describes herself as an object maker, driven by the need for form and touch in her artistic expression. Her primary body of work, the Holding Stones Series, has been evolving since 1993, focusing on the simplicity of three materials: wood and stone. These elements collaboratively construct a visual vocabulary, serving as metaphors for Earth and Man. The stones, found objects representing the planet's alterations and endurance, are collected from diverse landscapes, while wood, shaped by human hands, imparts a structural framing that elevates ordinary stones, allowing a profound consideration of their heft, mass, and form.

With a background spanning pottery, glassblowing, woodworking, and design, Davis infuses the concept of utility into her work, prompting exploration of the fundamental question: why hold stones? For her, stones bear the ever-present evidence of the Earth's endurance and history greater than humankind. Davis treats them as found objects, gleaned from fields, built landscapes, woods, quarries, road cuts, rail tracks, and commercial landscaping. The wood structures provide a platform for these stones, a canvas to sense their weight and significance. The process involves brainstorming and constant iteration, exploring the singular problem: how to hold a stone.

Davis maintains a simple yet disciplined artistic practice, visiting the studio daily, working on multiple pieces simultaneously, and fostering the exercise of multiples to evoke both similarities and eccentricities. She values walks in the woods for contemplation and has a set of objects in progress for evening handwork, paying homage to the historical women's work. Recently, she spends evenings drawing her own sculptures, attempting to capture the elusive memory of the muscle process on paper.

In her upcoming residency, Davis seeks to revisit her past exclusively drawing, rendering her drawings on objects laden with cultural meaning. With a distinguished career as a sculptor of wood and stone, Davis has been honored with four Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist Awards. Her exhibition is scheduled to be on view from September 7 to October 15, 2022, offering viewers a profound glimpse into her diverse and evolving artistic practice.

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