Delightful Too: Mutual admiration
Minneapolis artists Amy Rice and Jennifer Davis
BY FELICIA FEASTER
Delightful Too, the Young Blood Gallery exhibition of work by Minneapolis artists Amy Rice and Jennifer Davis, is infused with a friendly, two-peas-in-a-pod vibe. Like best friends sitting down to paint each others' toenails or to read racy excerpts from Harold Robbins novels, there is a charming sense of play and intimacy in this collaborative exhibition of two women who share a fascination with vintage advertisements, girl culture, birds and bunnies, sprinkle cupcakes, retro colors, and a snarky take on the past.
Favoring juicy hues of peach, melon, sea-foam green and salmon pink, Rice and Davis also share an obvious delight in riffing on each others' creations. Almost every work in the show offers a nod to the other artist, with one of Rice's artworks invariably "inspired by" one of Davis' and vice versa. The way the artists play off of each other's work evokes the bonds that often form in female friendships with their similar rhythms of back-and forth admiration and borrowing.
Rice's work is the more graphic and visibly street-art-inspired of the two. Rice works with spray paint, acrylics and the fat, black borders of stencils. Her paintings blend the look of ads from 1940s women's magazines; an irreverent, female take on street art; and a touch of Henry Darger kink. Though her clunkier technique and more garish palette can often compare unfavorably with Davis', at its best Rice's work offers poignant evocations of both the look and the emotional texture of the past. Her re-creation of the kind of barter system practiced in childhood in the self-explanatory "You Can Hold the Bunny If I Can Wear the Mask" is a good example of the artist's loaded content.
Davis tends to work on a smaller scale, using collage, painting and drawing to create surreal little vignettes. A popular motif is human bodies with animal heads and a visual style that seems to borrow from the 1970s at some moments and the '40s at others. A typically satisfying mix of color and content is the creepy "Birthday Party," in which Davis' bright, chirpy color palette extends to the seasick hues of the children's faces.
Davis' work is fascinatingly rich in both its cultural borrowings and its air of decadence mixed with preciousness.
Delightful Too. Through July 27. Young Blood Gallery, 629 Glenwood Ave. Wed. and Fri., noon-6 p.m.; Thurs., noon-7 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., noon-5 p.m. 404-627-0393. www.youngbloodgallery.com.