Student Curator Brings Recent UVA Grad’s Art Back to Charlottesville

December 6, 2018 By Payton Moledor, Payton Moledor,

How does recent University of Virginia graduate and local artist Lauchlan Davis show thanks to her alma mater?

Through her painting – and with the help of a current UVA student.

Third-year interdisciplinary arts administration student Rees Wilson is head curator for WriterHouse, a non-profit organization in downtown Charlottesville that promotes literature and art. Wilson’s position, funded by the UVA Arts Council, allows her to apply in-class lessons about art curation directly to her work creating engaging exhibitions for the Charlottesville community.

This Friday, Wilson is bringing Davis’ paintings to Charlottesville in her exhibition, “University Reflections.”

Davis graduated from UVA in May with degrees in art history and English, and said she is spending her post-grad year “reflecting back on the physical spaces in which [she] spent the last four years.”

For Davis, this reflection is a deeply artistic one. Using her signature “microabstraction” technique to convey spontaneity within order, Davis is creating a collection of paintings that capture some of the significant and enduring spaces she grew to appreciate while on Grounds.

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Davis’ “Rotunda and Pavilion I” painting has a serpentine wall and a side view of the Rotunda
Davis’ “Rotunda and Pavilion I” portrays the idea that “as [UVA] encompasses the uncertainty and learning of so many distinct personalities, each form overflows with infinitely varying texture and hue.”

“A lot of the underlying themes in the landscapes that I’m making are semi-meandering, reflecting how your college experience never quite goes in a straight line,” said Davis, who spent an unexpected gap year hiking the Appalachian Trail. “There’s a lot of complexity and beauty within [your college experience].”

[Read more about Davis’ unconventional college journey.]

painting called ”Willow on Dell Pond,” is a willow tree overlooking a pond
”Willow on Dell Pond,” 2018.

For Davis, the upcoming exhibition is an ode to the place where she developed her love for painting. She believes her art history training at UVA was what “allowed her to take off” and begin pursuing art professionally.

“The goal [of the exhibition] is to get different perspectives on these University spaces that I walked by every day going to class,” says Davis.

Davis’ painting “Academical Village II” views the Lawn through the pillars of the Rotunda
Davis’ painting “Academical Village II” demonstrates “the flickering effect created by the multitude of brushstrokes that captures the unsteady balance between history and newness.”

As curator, Wilson strove to create an experience that would draw UVA students as well community members to WriterHouse’s downtown location.

“The Charlottesville community is usually who goes to First Friday events,” Wilson said.
“It’s a mix of wanting those people to come back and bring their friends, but also wanting UVA students to get involved and feel like they have a connection to the art.”

Wilson hopes Davis’ art will do just that. “Lauchlan’s art has the ability to make any UVA student, alumnus or faculty member feel nostalgic about their time here,” she said. “She paints the Grounds as we will all remember it when we graduate.”

Painting of a pratt Ginkgo next to the Rotunda by Lauchlan Davis called “Ginkgo IX”
Davis calls the Pratt Ginkgo in “Ginkgo IX” a “moody protagonist” she passed every day on her walk to class.

Visit Davis’ website to view her full portfolio, and take in “University Reflections” during the First Fridays reception on Dec. 7 from 5 to 7 p.m. at WriterHouse, located at 508 Dale Ave., just behind the Bodo’s Bagels on Preston Avenue.


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