Award winning Costume Designer, Sharon Day is a collector of AVA DAY Paintings. She describes her collection as a “door into the world of dreams/poetry and the filter that makes much of life a joy-ride. “I intend to relocate to a larger home with many more walls, in order to hold additional AVA DAY Paintings.”
Ava Day paints in oil on linen. Day is a New Yorker but you might not guess it from her art. She paints unpopulated, visionary landscapes, with trees that look like grown-up leaves, fields, lakes and radiant skies, tossing with clouds. Occasionally she includes objects but they are usually not exactly part of the picture. They sit there – a white teapot, whatever it may be – as if on the ledge of the window through which we are looking. For the same reason, I think, she is fond of using elaborate frames. These frames are not fancy packaging but theatrical devices. Like the proscenium arch in a playhouse, they are invitations to enter Day’s interior worlds.
Artists who have dealt with dreams or waking visions, have often been rather other worldly in their métier, their paint handling. Like William Blake, whose muscular Michelangelesque anatomies seem to have coalesced from pink smoke, or the wraith-like inventions of Odilon Redon, the suffocating Gustave Moreau, the inert picture surfaces of the haunting Rene Magritte. Striking artists, all – but hardly interesting painters.
Such is not the case with Day. Her surfaces are lush, succulent, sometimes as clotted as cream cakes, so that her paintings work as objects as well as reveries. A tree will be formed by the brush, not illustrated by it, but then suddenly it will be luminous blue or ember red. With (yes) a tangerine sky. A few like-minded progenitors – mystics with some meat on their bones – come to mind. I think of the gold skies in some Byzantine icons, real gold, real sky. And their massive pale green saints. I think also of Blake’s acolyte, Samuel Palmer, in his exuberant Shoreham period, and the wonderful (earlier) New Yorker, Albert Pinkham Ryder. These are artists who are far from having a methodical product line, by the way. But when they flew, they flew.
Ava Day belongs in their company also because of her scale. She has escaped that addiction to the out-size gesture that afflicts so much American art. She doesn’t balk at whimsy or childlikeness and she is unafraid of poetry – the strength of poetry being that it can compact, that it can pack a whole interior universe into a carry-on bag, as often here.
Dreams in Color
“Dreams in Color” is the title of a group of Conceptual artworks by Ava Day in which the sculptural framings are as much a part of the piece as the stage and stage-set would be a part of a play or performance. The frame stands as a portal, or invitation to a vision or memory, be it painful, beautiful, or hopeful. She describes her work as fragments of dreams, fantasies, or moments in time. She describes an interest in the mind’s ability to organize and sublimate the two-dimensional space of the canvas as theater into which the drama of a moment can be pressed.
The artist Ava Day paints the inner vision. With a feeling for nature, her works seem charged with associations. She defines her work as Visionary Conceptualism, an intimate, personal art. They are also Metaphysical, in that they relate to the transcendent, to a reality beyond that which is perceptible to the senses, full of an invented symbolism.
Spirituality animates many of the works, images paired down to their most eternal elements, exalting the mysterious, aiming to unify art and the senses. They evoke memory, the persistence of dreams in the face of reality, dreams that manifest content. Dreams, truer than other aspects of life, lead to a highly suggestive vagueness. She describes her paintings as a pictorial arrangement of the psychical under which lies a profound concealed truth. She creates at times a disquieting melancholic longing, or a sense of foreboding, evoking inner tumult, hidden beneath an eloquent exterior, giving life to simple natural scenes, whether humble or magical.
Ava Day’s work attempts to restore purity and sincerity and often with an irresistible sense of whimsy. She believes that there is a need for silence; a silence that restores meaning. An art of quietude, rooted in terrains of silence, causing us to listen to the innerness of our beings, reconciling nature with contemporary life
Her paintings speak of poetry, not because of literary themes or verses, but because they present images with a poet’s eye or ear. The painting of an idea delving below narrative and even below consciousness, but full of the beauty and terror of life: conversations with the soul, with a wild note of longing. These themes interweave so that yearning and religion, destiny and eternity, symbol and idea, all become one.
Conceptual artist, Painter, Sculptor
Founder, Fashion Moda
Architecture of Joy
In “Architecture of Joy”, Ava Day’s new series of works, she combines fine art painting with a re-invention of traditional home building techniques. This is truly cutting edge contemporary work.
One not only sees but feels the painted object. The images here are dream landscapes inhabited by clouds, trees, bodies of water and the sky. Ava Day applies paint in a visceral, gestural manner.
In these works traditional framing does not apply. The framed constructions here are stage sets inspired by prairie homesteads and American rustic building styles. Ms. Day off-handedly mentions that some professional carpenters have objected to her building techniques!
Ms. Day also employs articles like miniscule tea set layouts, items taken from a doll house, tiny boots, slippers dancing inside a glass-doored cabinet, a lace curtain blowing in the breeze and many other varied items. ”Broken Fence”, for instance, is constructed of tiny slats of broken wood. “Kitchen Window” is made of wainscoting, all ‘objets trouvés’, slats of wood and a broken flower pot. “Wish and Pony” depicts painful childhood memories of broken promises and unrequited love from a disapproving parent. In many pieces there is crockery and it is broken, as in ”Broken View”.
All objects in Ms. Day’s work here have history in her life, memory and longing. In “Time and the Persistence Of Memory” a love letter found on the banks of Newton Creek in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, is displayed collaged together with a reproduction of Salvadore Dali’s rubberized clocks. Ava Day, her cabins in the sky, her “Architecture Of Joy”, homesteading a universe.
Conceptual artist, Painter, Sculptor
Founder, Fashion Moda Gallery
The imaginary landscapes of Ava Day, rooted in Symbolism, reflect the artist's affinity for skies, trees, and fields as an expression of complex, yet orchestrated passion! Her palette ranges mostly from deep cerulean, ultraviolet, and Prussian and cobalt blues to lime or deep greens. Some have vistas of lavender or skies of metallic silver or red. Skies are often built up with layers of washes or under-painting, giving the haunting impression that the wing-like clouds are moving. The artist relates that some paintings take years to complete, due to nuances of color and shading
Trees are painted impasto; branches ripple or sway in dramatic excitement and mystery. They are aflutter with flaming tongues, or wiggling cloud-like formations. Some muted nearly-nocturnals portray cotton-candy-like trees drifting into the calm of deeply colored surrounds. One can look at these visionary paintings for hours, and see intriguingly new things in the woods, fields, and skies. Is there a breeze that makes the tree branches cluster so, or is it a longing of the trees to express a story, or an emotion, which is indescribable?
“My work speaks of the connection of human beings with the earth and shows this link as a source of power.” Ava Day’s images reflect passageways, not cynical or ugly, but alluring and beautiful, and like herself, mysterious.
Making New York City her territory, she exploded onto the art scene with a series of shows, from Fashion Moda in the South Bronx, through the East Village, to the Puck Building, Tribeca, SoHo, and the World Trade Center. Her work can be found in the collections of Sidney Sutter on the New York Council of the Arts, and Stefan Eins, International artist as well as founder and director of Fashion Moda Gallery, to name but a few.
She has previously made her living in the fashion business, greeting card business and in advertising. Her success now enables her to create the paintings she loves.
All The Elements
Ava Day is a young artist who has preferred to perfect her unique vision rather than join in the trends of her contemporaries. Her paintings suggest mythologies, although often unfamiliar. There is a timeless quality in which the moment is heightened, or that time has literally ceased. The primal forces, in fact, ‘all the elements’ depicted in these works seem either bathed in light or glowing from a source within.
Humanity and our world (or is it some other place?) are united by the light, the white light long associated with healing power, sacred energies. This artist’s work speaks of each persons connection to the earth and the power and centeredness derived from this relationship.
Ava Day depicts her “elements” as active. An undeniable presence appears either tranquil, or at times disturbing. In her world the underlying vibrancy of life is made visible and reinforces our sense of oneness with the worlds of spirit and nature. Although descriptions as visionary or a new symbolism spring to mind, one would have to say that it is refreshing to see such immediate, contemporary work executed with an almost classic mastery of the medium, while at the same time depicts an enormous sense of consciousness and a very personal expression.
O’Delle L. Abney
The Corner Gallery, Concourse Level, World Trade Center