Davis Arts Center presents two exhibits this July, in the Tsao Gallery, A World Beyond Our World, paintings by Maxine Solomon and in the Atrium and West Hall, Through the Trees, featuring the photographs of Mel Solomon, Maxine’s husband. Both exhibits open on Monday, July 8, and run through Friday, July 26, 2019. There will be a Second Friday, ArtAbout reception on Friday, July 12, from 6 to 8pm. The reception is free and the public is encouraged to attend. Maxine and Mel are both planning to attend the reception, so this is a great opportunity to discuss the work with either artist.
In the abstract oil paintings of A World Beyond Our World, Maxine Solomon uses both additive (multiple layers of paint) and subtractive (removing paint) processes. She states her paintings often include, “Active brush strokes and quiet glazes that, combined, depict landscapes buried within abstract imagery.” Not knowing what the final image will be, it is the process that leads her to complete the painting – sometimes containing as many as 30 layers of paint. The work, though abstracted, depicts what Maxine sees and experiences in the world. Maxine shares, “The paint itself becomes my partner – its texture, its vibrancy, its very nature become a crucial component, enabling me to process and speak of that which I see in our shared world.” One of her favorite quotes, that of Richard Diebenkorn perhaps states it best, “I can never accomplish what I want, only what I would have wanted had I thought of it beforehand.”
The inspiration of Through the Trees came after Mel, along with Maxine, left San Francisco and relocated to Davis in late 2017. Mel comments that he was struck by the, “Beauty of the trees that are so prevalent throughout the City of Davis parks.” For Mel, his passion of photography began many years ago when his travels and job locations brought him around the world. “I decided to create a picture journal of what I saw around me as I traveled from country to country.” Even after retiring, Mel continued to photograph what surrounded him – be it people interacting on an city street or the scenic, majestic landscapes of Northern California. As Mel’s passion for photography grew, he discovered infrared photography, a medium, which based on the images of Through the Trees, he has obviously mastered. One of the unique differences between standard photography and infrared is that with infrared photograph, the photographer does not know exactly what will be captured. Serendipity is always in play.
When one views A World Beyond Our World and Through the Trees, the work of Maxine and Mel Solomon is seemly very different, but in many ways it is alike. Both bodies of work require time to view – and perhaps, see what hidden worlds are revealed. It is also not surprising that after 60 years of marriage and end-of-the-day critiques (they each have their own studio, but discuss their work in the evening) that there is mutual inspiration and a cross-pollination of ideas. Central to both artists, is their experience of the world – so discover what lies beyond by stepping through the forest and your own world this July.