Grubbs Gallery Presents Rhys Davies and Jimmy Ilson

On Display: February 3-27
Reception: Saturday, Feb. 21, 1:30-3:30 p.m.

"Mwyar Duon" (Blackberries)   Acrylic on Canvas. Rhys Davies
“Mwyar Duon” (Blackberries) Acrylic on Canvas. Rhys Davies

Two friends and fellow artists—who use their art to examine the figurative and ephemeral—are collaborating on an exhibit that will be on display in the Grubbs Gallery through the month of February.

Freelance book illustrator and designer Rhys Davies uses drawings and collages, dotted with over-sized figures, to create works with both literal and figurative meanings. In his artist’s statement, he noted that he has been inspired by landscapes and the history of his native Wales. “Having lived for years in the countryside, I feel I can draw upon a ‘deep well’ of subject matter and imagery,” he wrote.

Mr. Davies, who lives in Amherst, has a degree in fine art with a specialty in painting, and studied at both the Cardiff College of Art, and Wimbledon School of Art in London, from which he received a BA with honors. He has exhibited at schools such as Wimbledon SFA, Ruskin College, and Middlesex University Gallery, as well as several galleries in Denmark. He has also shown at locally at Wunderarts, Pineapple Dance Studio, and Hope and Feathers, all in Amherst.

The Caged Bird, mixed media drawing. Jimmy Ilson
The Caged Bird, mixed media drawing. Jimmy Ilson

Jimmy Ilson’s most recent  drawings, assemblages, and sculptures are visual paradoxes that often reflect the nature of Taoist philosophy. Last year, he headed a project in Easthampton High School called “How do You Say Goodbye?” where students in his advanced fine arts class scrawled phrases all over their school building, which was slated to be demolished.

“What you’re doing here is this kind of momentary thing. It’s ephemeral,” Mr. Ilson was quoted as saying in a Daily Hampshire Gazette article about the project. “It’s like fireworks — it’s there and then it’s gone.”

Mr. Ilson graduated from the University of Wisconsin  in Madison with an BFA in painting and earned an MFA in  Printmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute. Having grown up in New York City, he notes that early visits to Pablo Picasso’s “Guernica” in the Museum of Modern Art were some of the most formative aspects of  his artistic life.  He presently teaches art at Cathedral  High School and also teaches T’ai chi throughout the Pioneer Valley.


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