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Faeries get their day in TMDavy’s art

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Walking into Company Gallery late last summer in Soho felt like entering a faerie world. I entered on a Wednesday to find an artist. TM DavyThe artist titled “The Color Explosion” has a friend sitting on a colorful blanket array playing instruments and basking in the colors of his paintings. Fae. The paintings were filled with mysterious caves and ethereal lights that glowed in strange ways.

The hidden world he has brought into the light captivated me as I explored the grotto-like scenes inspired by 1980s and ’90s pop culture and close-ups of faerie-like figures that look as influenced by classic Calvin Klein ads as they are by fantasy portraits. I asked him to elaborate on the practice he uses, which is a type vintage and glorious faggotry that reflects the present moment’s healing, mending fantasy and new horizons.

Detail of two paintings by TM Davie, left. “heart song” (2023) and, right, “a little splashing” (2023)

Hyperallergic: How would you describe the exhibition to a person who has never seen any of your work? 

TM Davy:Entering Company Gallery [you see]A tiny green faerie appears from a pink portal. A tiny monster seems happy to see us. The main room has columns covered in vines of chromatic caves, which support the pine tree gardens above. A human-sized faerie waving a wand across us from a circle of singing butterfly-winged companions. A rainbow of faeries with wing-eared children play, chase and rest. They are also encouraged to fly by even smaller faeries. The room is a collection of mystic caverns of different sizes and colors, each capturing a particular moment. Blue faerie made it home. Red Satyr smokes an e-cigarette. There is dancing with each other, floating in the air, gazing at each other, posing for pictures, and picking flowers. The vibration of love. Transmuted consciousness creates eyes in a play of color, form, and physical expression. A mossy sun drum and a stoned drum rest on the ground. Some days, groups with moving bodies gather to play in the room.

Hyperallergic:You described your figures as “parts”You. Could you elaborate on that? 

TMD: Working from imagination brings so much life to the table. I could see a friend or sister in a faerie’s gesture, or an old crush in their eyes. Sometimes, heartbreak, an emotion difficult to handle, or a memory that is not resolved will appear. The process is to feel the fae. Yellow Satyr was an abstract attraction, for instance. He got hot, but shared an unshakeable trigger of judgement or distrust. Then, somehow, [he became]A likeness to my best friend in middle school. I remember drawing magic with my best friend, and then drifting away. We had last spoken on a summer break from college, while wandering the town. Some of his pals heard us talking. One called me “faggot.” I wasn’t out yet, but I was lost. “So what if I am?”I say “Why does it bother you?”Then he violently assaulted me. Twenty-six year after the friend ghosted [me]Yellow Satyr makes me integrate the score. The painting still felt sad. I then found my old friend via Instagram. He calls and apologizes for ever, like a dream realized for both of us. Yellow Satyr changed again, becoming gentler and softer with me. I tattooed tiny monsters tamed on faer shoulders and protective faeries protecting faer necks, with a sun smiling over faer eyelids.  

TM Davy’s “tunnel of love”(2023) “faerie friend” (2023)

Hyperallergic: What is a Faerie Cave to you? That’s a term you have used to explain the cavernous spaces in your work. Can you explain this?

TMD: The cave is a somatic haven — a home base for faerie teller consciousness. This work included visualizing the breath as a witness inspired by emotion traveling into a physical body. Follow the insights to a loop using painting. It was a wonderful discovery to discover that bright colors and linseed could reveal faeries caves across wood grain planters. My family has a long-standing tradition of honoring the fairies in the knots of large trees.

Hyperallergic: What is the importance of gender and sexuality to this show? You quote from Larry Mitchell’s The Faggots & Their Friends Between Revolutions(1977), which argues against an assimilationist attitude towards sexual diversity. I’m curious if that represents your perspective. 

TMD: Candy StoreWritten by TextShimher’s writing is wonderful. This is a book that we both love. Hi NedRamrod is a place where things can get tight and loose. But the fairies understand that a diverse ecosystem is essential to a sustainable eco-system. We’ve got to keep each other alive. The works in FaeI feel fae gendered to me, an enchanting non-dual embodiment.

Detail of the Gremlin like figures in left. “lucid dreamer” (2023) and, right, “tiny monster” (2023)

Hyperallergic:I noticed that your work has a strong symbolism, even in how you use color. Can you explain the role symbolism has in your work? 

TMD: Students of realism understand how internal symbols are projected into the observational depiction an external world. The electromagnetic spectrums play across space and form, and a realist’s meditation is to observe visual phenomena separate from unconscious patterns. Still, we can choose where to look. In a symbolism born of realism, the witnesses begins to focus that same attention on themselves. What image will be revealed? What do you want to project? Strangely, the symbols seem to become real and transcend when they feel seen. The play of light and colour becomes as intimate as it feels.

Hyperallergic:Hollywood movies from the 1970s and 80s clearly influenced your work. I would say Gremlins, Star Wars, Neverending Story are the first to pop to mind, but I’d love to hear you talk about these influences. Do you know of any others? 

TMD: There’s something about a monomythic quest. I’ve listened to Joseph Campbell enough to see how these stories chart my unconscious realm with their magic ones. Jim Henson is a genius with the heart. The breathwork Mr. Miyagi is teaching in Karate Kid IIIt was beautiful when I was a child, but I lost it as a teenager. Recently, I have been able to recover my health by rediscovering the benefits of conscious breathing. A satyr briefly transformed into Ralph Macchio in memory of our first teacher. It dawned on me that my recurring grotto dream was first inspired by Big Bird Goes ChinaI was born very young. Superman in his fortress of solitude. Labyrinth. Dark Crystal. [My Neighbor] Totoro. Too many to know the limit of influence. But I’m grateful to the avatars and magic friends.

One of the painted planters Fae beside “heart song” (2023)

Hyperallergic: What is it that you love about painting and why did it seem like the best medium for this piece? 

TMD: Painting is my primary language of love. I work into the caves like I’m tapping a song in myself. Much of the work involves conjuring light out of matter and letting that radiate into an open, awake feeling in the room. It’s a way to be in touch.

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Original content by – “In TM Davie’s Art, Faeries have Their Day”

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