Exploration and Synergy
The artwork of Blaine Davis and Charles Tanner
Exploration and Synergy
This show brings together the work of two print makers working in Houston, Blaine Davis and Charles Tanner. Sharing an interest in similar themes and the exploration of process, they both have a quiet artistic sensitivity. Their art depicts the beauty of the natural world, flowing abstract shapes, as well as other lands and cultures.
Just as the world is diverse, they experiment with multiple palettes, styles, and techniques. From joyous, colorful portrayals of our world, they move to more monochromatic, meditative palettes. Some prints take on ambiguous meanings, whereas others are full of stronger, representational lines and shapes.
The prints are built up through layering techniques and textures, making them complex and mesmerizing. Looking closely at individual pieces, one may detect different etching techniques, echos of found objects that were run through the printing press, and even hand coloring. Developing prints in this way can be an organic, spontaneous, and sometimes random process. Accidents are often cultivated as they lead the artist in new directions.
Blaine and Charles often work side by side, and their exchange of ideas adds to the synergy of their work. While both led careers outside of art, they were drawn to print making early on. They studied print making at the Glassell School decades ago and now work at Burning Bones. Founded by Carlos Hernandez and Pat Masterson in 2011, it is a cooperative printing press in the Heights district of Houston.
Blaine Davis describes his intaglio process as “controlled accidents” because he often does not know what is going to happen until starting to see an image develop. His work is predominantly copper plate etchings and linocuts. He uses a variety of techniques, often many on the same plate, including aquatint, soft ground, hard ground, chine colle’ and others.
Having made prints for over 30 years, he has participated in numerous print shows, including the “The Burning Bones Press: A Selection of Prints” at the Moody Gallery, Houston (2019), “Burning Bones Press: Collective Pulse” at the Galveston Arts Center (2017), a group show in Glassell’s Perimeter Gallery (2014), and a number of student shows at the Glassell.
Beyond print work, he is also a weaver. The two practices are complementary, and his prints often become inspirational for his cloth and tapestry work. In September of 2018 he spent the month of September in Iceland doing a residency in tapestry. His work was represented at the Icelandic Textile Institute in Blundous, Iceland (Sept. 2018). Blaine holds a BA from the University of Wisconsin and an MLS from the University of Texas Austin. He worked as librarian at the Houston Public Library for 25 years.
Charles Tanner is inspired by contemporary artists, for whom printmaking was a significant part of their oeuvre such as Hockney, Motherwell, Johns, Dine, Frankenthaler and others. In this show, the series of hearts is reminiscent of Jim Dine’s Romantic Expressionism style, and Homage, the piece with a series of numbers, is a tribute to Jasper Johns. Many pieces remind us of the Abstract Expressionists.
Charles studied printmaking at The Glassell School 30 years ago and currently makes prints at Burning Bones Press, Houston. His work was included in the group exhibition, "Twenty-Five Years of Printmaking at The Glassell School" (YEAR) and in a by-faculty-invitation group exhibition in The Perimeter Gallery of The Glassell School (2014). Having studied literature, Charles holds a BA in Literature from Rice University and an MA in Literature from the University of Texas at Austin. He also earned a law degree (JD) from University of Houston. He has retired from a family manufacturing business.
Hanneke Humphrey Art
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