Seeing Red: Bibi Davidson Goes 3D at Gallery 825
By Genie Davis
Through November 18th
In a stunning solo exhibition, “The Girl in the Red Dress,” now at Gallery 825 through November 18th, Bibi Davidson, whose favorite color – and favorite color element in most of her vibrant works – is red, has taken her work three-dimensional.
Davidson says “This is a new work-step-forward for me, to make installations and theater-type pieces.” The artist says this new direction has “inspired me to do more sculpture, to create more 3-D work. It’s very exciting, and I feel good not to stay in one place.”
Davidson’s whimsical, subversive world features her doppelganger, the eponymous girl in the red dress. With her, viewers enter an alternative dimension filled with exciting, smart art that here includes wire mesh figures clothed in undergarments, “My Multi Personalities,” and “Paper Doll/Woman, Paper Doll/Man,” interactive mixed media work on tool boards. The latter works are designed as nearly life-size paper doll figures that encourage viewers to participate by dressing them.
As always, the riveting reds, yellows, greens, and other arresting primary colors as well as the bold clean shapes of Davidson’s work, are used here to create a mythic set of characters, each telling feminist, universal stories that reveal vulnerabilities and announce their subjects’ bravery.
Witness “No Gender,” a triptych with written elements that proclaim “See Me,” “Shut the Fuck Up,” and “I dare you to Kiss Me.” These acrylic works clearly and concisely present the artist as storyteller, as humorous as she is intense, as universally encompassing as she is personal and autobiographical. The “No Gender” trio of paintings are brilliant together or separately, each incorporating dimensional elements that work to pull viewers into Davidson’s world perhaps a little deeper than in her 2D work.
Born in Tel Aviv, Israel, but now thoroughly Los Angeles-based, Davidson’s recurring characters and mysterious parallel worlds are filled with brightness and laughter, but at the same time also unflinchingly depict personal struggles and heartfelt sensitivity. She’s noted that she started her career as an artist at age 4, and has never stopped, painting her stories using oil on gessoed, sanded wood panels, acrylics on canvas, and now, sculptural forms.
Davidson’s “Naughty Glimpse,” a large acrylic on canvas work, depicts her girl character, back to the camera, hand on her thigh, provocatively raising her skirt. Of this piece, the artist notes “The girl represents me, and originally I painted something small. But I went big when my house was under renovation and I painted this girl all over the floor, the head, and the hall. I got into a trance and then made this piece on canvas. I inspired myself,” she laughs.
Regardless of artistic form and dimension, the subjects and passion of this artist’s work grab viewers and submerge them into a world beyond this one, compelling us to see past our own opinions, sorrows, and lives. With Davidson’s art, she binds us to her characters and their boldness. It is entirely apt to say, in viewing her works “we are not alone.” And we are the more vividly real for the companionship found in this exhibition. Yes, you’ll be seeing red – but in an entirely fiery and fantastic way.
The Los Angeles Art Association’s Gallery 825 is located at 825 N. La Cienega.