News : 2018

"Kirsty Templeton Davidge in Galleries West online: 'Common Threads' Exhibition Review"
Agnieszka Matejko

Common Threads


Edmonton artist Kirsty Templeton Davidge creates precisely observed portraits that focus on small but telling details. She wants us to truly see the people around us.


How often do we take time to look at the people closest to us? Amid the rush of our busy lives, how well do we really know them? These are two timely questions that Kirsty Templeton Davidge addresses in her show, Common Threads, on view from Sept. 6 to Sept. 23 at the Peter Robertson Gallery in Edmonton.


Despite Templeton Davidge’s deep interest in the inner life of others, there are no standard portraits in these works. Instead, she zooms in on small details: things like hands that enfold each other protectively or rest tensely in a young woman’s lap. There is honesty in these depictions. She shows freckles, unmanicured nails, the blue tinge of veins, the sort of minute flaws we often judge only in ourselves.


An intense scrutiny of the body and the underlying emotion is the focus of these paintings, yet also remains peripheral. Templeton Davidge often places exposed skin at the edges of her compositions, and it is often almost lost amidst elaborate folds of fabric. She scavenges in secondhand stores, selecting clothing with bold patterns that counterbalances and obscures the figure. We, as viewers, must scan for clues amidst the intricate designs and fluid shadows. Only gradually do we discover the emotional life of the subjects.

These subtle yet intense works are a remarkable achievement for a relative newcomer to the art scene. After raising four children, Templeton Davidge returned to school, graduating from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor’s degree in fine arts in 2015, the same time as her eldest son. It seems as if years of pent-up creativity and distilled observation are brought to light in these beautiful paintings. They are reminders, perhaps even gentle rebukes, asking us to look more closely and truly see the people around us.


Kirsty Templeton Davidge’s exhibition, Common Threads, is on view at the Peter Robertson Gallery in Edmonton from Sept. 6 to Sept. 23, 2018.


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