Artist’s Proof is pleased to announce the exhibition Frocasians: Moving Beyond Social Construct, featuring Swedish artist Anna U Davis. The exhibition is a culmination of various themes that highlight contemporary social-political issues which are personified through Davis' 'Frocasian' characters (an amalgam of Afro and Caucasian), and an examination of her unique mixed media techniques. A curated selection of her paintings will be on view at Artist's Proof this September. Please join us for the opening reception Saturday, September 8th, 2018 at 5 pm at Artist's Proof Gallery located at 1533 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington D.C. The exhibition will be on view from September 7, 2018, to October 14, 2018.
Art does not just reflect the world — it engages with it. As a mirror of our culture, art has a crucial role to play in transforming, redefining and reimagining socio-political issues. Over the past twenty years, Swedish artist Anna U Davis (Figure1) has been creating incredibly complex collages that examine gender relations, sexuality and other contemporary social issues that she observes around her. Inspired by experiences of her own interracial marriage, she creates grey-scaled, abstracted figures called ‘Frocasians’ that act as a medium to investigate these contemporary social issues. Within the two presented series, "Witnesses" and "Black Edge," Davis' initiates this discourse - making such consequential but abstract themes more tangible to her audience.
The Contemporary Woman's Movement is just one social-political issue addressed in Davis’ art. Shark-cuteri (Figure 2), presented in the Witnesses series, creates a visual correlation between the objectification of woman to that of animals within contemporary culture. Reduced to an object of consumption, Davis' shows the feminine body (specifically female anatomy) on display like a 'piece of meat' as four men prepare to feast. Upon further examination of the painting, one sees Davis' precise attention to detail as she combines cutout paper squares including recognizable and abstracted images applied individually by hand. The paper cutouts outlined with back acrylic painting, the piece
begins to take on the aesthetic of a stained glass window. She continues to add details with an ink pen and other drawing techniques.
In the ‘Black Edge’ series, the ‘Frocasian’ characters are removed from the traditional painting format. Window Dressing (Figure 3), a life-size black and white ink drawing applied to plywood, is suspended out from the wall entering the viewer's realm. Davis’ continues this discourse on the male objectification of the female body, as six men prey through a window as a woman is dressing. These sculptural figures explore this perpetual misogynistic behavior that has been indoctrinated within society, while investigating the physical and emotional impact it has had on the artist.
Davis explains of her stylistic change: ”These plywood sculptures emerged from the idea of deconstructing a common support medium structure - the rectangle. By separating the figures from the picture plane and installing their cut-out shapes slightly away from the wall, I am left with a more fluid creation that breaks away from traditional structure and form.”
A heightened expression through a myriad of textures and tones, Davis' brings to light poignant subject matters but juxtaposes them with a beautiful process and highly refined finished work.