The Seattle School has reserved a portion of its public space on both the second and third floors to display and honor art created by students, staff, faculty, alumni, and artists from the greater Seattle area. These gallery spaces are curated by students in conversation with faculty and seek to represent an experience of our life together through a variety of mediums for a public audience. This term, we are thrilled to feature Maggie Hubbard’s Chair With in the second floor common area and Davia Campbell’s Long Lay the World in the third floor hallway.
Here, Davia talks about her display and how it reflects the ongoing work she is engaging as a first-year student at The Seattle School. We invite you to come explore both of these unique collections, and join us for the next Art on Our Walls reception, featuring a conversation with both artists, January 19 at 6:30 p.m.
Your work—at least partly because of the variety of styles—defies easy description. Which is why I apologize for this question: How would you describe this collection for someone who hasn’t seen it yet?
Oh man. Well, I would say the collection is mostly odds and ends—paintings, ballpoint pen drawing… I put everything together between the end of last term and the beginning of this one. I gathered together what I was playing with and thinking about during Advent and through Epiphany.
There seems to be a progression of eras represented here, and it’s like the style of each section adapts to the subjects and the different time periods. Can you talk about that progression through time, and how that helped shape this work?
It is quite linear in the events of the birth through resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth attested to in the gospel narratives. I figured the visual was oddball enough that linear time might help out with accessibility for anyone looking at it.
What about the title, Long Lay the World? How did you decide on that? And did the title help shape the work, or did it come after everything else was done?
“…And the soul felt its worth” is how the end of the line in that song, “O Holy Night,” goes. It kind of came at the end, but it was always floating around while I was working. That phrase has moved me at weird, tragic, or particularly fleshy times, so it seemed fitting to the show. Like, all this stuff that is part of being human, or happening in the world… “Long lay the world,” and the divine shows itself a part of it, as the story goes… “and the soul felt its worth.”
How does what you’re learning at The Seattle School influence your art, and this work in particular?
A whole lot! Everything from the painting Shelly Rambo showed at the beginning of her lecture (the final piece of my series plays off of it), to imagining what it would be like to be in the body of Mary the Mother of Jesus, to messing with how close I let myself get to what I’m talking or writing about, or what I’m feeling in my body, or if I dance around messy stuff and dress it up. That’s all stuff from this last academic semester working itself out here.
That hallway is a weighty place, lining our faculty offices and waiting right outside the Large Classroom, where so much of our work as students is done. How do you see your art interacting with some of the themes that emerge in our classes and the conversations that occur in our halls?
Well the themes of humanness, divinity, labor, tragedy, bodies, color—they all seem appropriate to hall talk at The Seattle School. At the same time, the drawings and paintings have been how I’ve started working on a lot of stuff from school; I’d be pumped if it could hold/support/relieve some of the hard, hard work my schoolmates, visitors, and faculty are doing in their own way. Though I will say that it is intimidating to put up pieces so tied to my experience at school right in front the faculty offices.
What do you hope people will walk away from your work with? Any particular thoughts or feelings you hope to provoke?
I hope folks feel thrown off a little, or maybe readjusted, like a visit to the chiropractor, freed up if only because they can imagine and work out these sacred/messy things a little differently and take deep breaths and be courageous—yeah bravery. But also comforted by that same thing: stuff is messy, but it always has been. So, discomforted and then comforted again—back and forth.
Long Lay the World features pen sketches, oils on canvas, and gouache on paper. Join us at 6:30 p.m. next Tuesday, January 19, for an artist reception with Davia Campbell and Maggie Hubbard. Learn more here.