Wright’s Creations Inspire Davis’ Paintings

Excerpted from

Oak Park Journal, Wednesday, June 7, 2006

by Anna Poplawska

Genevieve Davis, a Wisconsin resident, explains that in the late 90’s she moved to Mirror Lake, which is an hour north of Taliesin. She was living in a wilderness area with only two other houses for neighbors; one of these was a Frank Lloyd Wright design called the Seth Peterson Cottage. It wasn’t long before she started volunteering as a docent and then decided to paint it.

Her appetite whetted, she drove down to Taliesin with her camera, thinking that she’d just be doing a couple more paintings. Three years later, she’d done 

 

20 separate pieces, catching the house, school, barns, and windmill, all designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. She observed, “It’s just an overwhelming place. There’s so much going on visually. Everywhere I looked there was something exciting to see, a lot of geometry.”

Part of the charm of her paintings lies in her choice of angle and distance from the subject. In some of the pictures she moves in very close to catch small details; in others she’s very far away to catch an overall flavor. For instance, in “Taliesin Pond View,” Taliesin itself is barely visible at the top of a hill. Davis makes the viewer aware of just how well the house blends with its surroundings. It seems to be growing out of the hill like a natural rock ledge. Even the trees seem to orient themselves to the house, as if to suggest that Wright took into account the exact location and shape of each of the surrounding trees in his design.

“Taliesin Studio Window,” by contrast, brings the viewer in very close. It’s difficult to work out precisely what it is we’re seeing, but this is a part of the fascination, like being dropped into the middle of an Escher drawing. The bright red of what would appear to bewindow from leaps out at the viewer from the right side of the canvas. But it’s hardto even be certain if we’re viewing this from the outside or the inside. On the left side of the canvas is a stone path moving off at an unexpected angle and disappearing behind a wall, then a staircase, but it’s impossible to tell where it leads to.

Though she’s now had exhibits both at Taliesin in Wisconsin and here in Oak Park, Davis is still keeping busy painting addition Frank Lloyd Wrights. She recently completed a painting of the Home and Studio here in Oak Park and is now working on two paintings of the Robie House on the University of Chicago campus.