A time to blossom
Amy Davidson transcends loss, rooting herself in the daily practice of art and staying active in the art community.
Undoubtedly, with the psychic wounds and scars that hitch onto life’s upheavals, some wisdom, evolution and triumph tag along too — ideas explored in the upcoming art exhibit “Endings and Beginnings — Paintings by Amy Davidson.”
Davidson’s first solo show and first-ever art show will be featured at the Shapot Art Studio & Gallery, a space run by innovative artist Jordan Shapot. The exhibit opens with a reception from 4 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 27, at 2318 NE Eighth Road, Ocala.
At 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 1, Davidson will give an artist talk at the gallery, followed by a performance by folk-punk duo Glizzie Gillespie at 7 p.m. Admission is free to both events.
Based in downtown Ocala, Davidson is a mother of four, a journalist, editor, former photojournalist, scriptwriter, gardener and now, a painter.
Featured as one of “Ocala Style” magazine’s “Captivating Creatives” in 2019, the scriptwriter and creator of the film dramedy “Stringer” has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from State University of New York-Plattsburgh.
Her artistic style is expressionistic and colorful, created with acrylics and Posca markers. Her subjects have sprouted from her many years of growing plants and food and flowers.
“I’ve always been fascinated with the cycle of life, especially for plants,” she explained. “Having a greenhouse with my former spouse, I learned a lot from him through the years about how to grow food properly, especially during the pandemic. For years I’ve always grown things and saved seeds and collected things like a little forest witch. I like preserving things or even watching plants, and even seeing how they die.”
The “ending” part of the show’s title began with Davidson’s divorce.
“I changed career paths and I relocated, living back downtown from Ocklawaha,” she explained. “So, I went through a lot of changes. I started therapy, and that was the beginning for me. I also spent about a year and a half just diving into taking care of my family. ‘Family health before wealth’ was my motto for a while and, while working as a marketing analyst and content editor from home, I couldn’t leave for lunch. So, I just kind of felt like painting.”
Davidson describes her style as “a little abstract, surreal and impressionistic,” but also full of passion and “true heartbreak.”
“I had a choice to continue to be angry or I could just find another way to channel that, which is very cliche, but it’s very cliche for a reason,” she said.
Painting, Davidson said, became a channel for her to create while being at home, and as a way to work with anxiety rather than avoiding it.
Being present, making friends, participating in the growing art scene, and living downtown, where she can stay active by walking from place to place, have all helped give Davidson a new lease on life.
Gratitude and forgiveness are other, especially significant, themes that come up.
Davidson credited Shapot and Seth Benzel at Eighth Ave. Gallery for their encouragement and the Marion Cultural Alliance (of which she is a member) for nurturing Ocala’s “creative” buzz,” but a lot of her blossoming took root right at home.
“I’d like to say that it takes a village, and I owe my creative life to my mom, Kathleen Misra. From clipping my newspaper articles to taking me to museums as a child to driving me to Washington, D.C., for a journalism conference, she has always been the glue,” she said.
The burgeoning painter also acknowledged the human tendency to self-punish and pressure ourselves into improvement, especially in today’s social media landscape.
“I have a series called ‘Love on a Shelf,’’’ she said. “The whole series came about after my divorce. I asked myself, ‘Will I date again? Will I feel like dating again? Will I ever be interesting to anybody again?’”
Davidson painted the series not only to cope with her own anxieties about starting over, but also to reassure anyone going through a change in life where they’re kind of battling with self-confidence and self-esteem.
“‘Love on a Shelf’ is all the good things that you have to offer someone,” she added. “And it doesn’t mean all the pretty things and all the things that are neat and clean, but it just means you’re good how you are, and the right person will find you. And so that’s kind of my homage to that.”
For more information about Jordan Shapot Art Studio & Gallery, visit jordanshapot.com.