Margaret Davidson – The Joy of Paper (Online); Saturday, April 15, 2023

For any drawing artist, paper is the most important partner and ally in the making of their art, so it is good to know what papers are made of, what they feel like and what their voices are.

Margaret Davidson is a drawing artist, largely because of paper. In Margaret’s words, “There is something about paper that is intensely personal, and almost alive.Different papers have different voices and all papers are quite opinionated, which is my way of saying they influence the drawing in general and the mark-making in particular. This comes from what they are made of, and how they are made. For any drawing artist, paper is the most important partner and ally in the making of your art, and so it is good to know what papers are made of, what they feel like, and what their voices are.”

Margaret Davidson has a BFA from the University of Michigan and an MFA from the University of Washington. She is both an artist and illustrator, and, until retirement in 2014, taught courses in Beginning Drawing, Sources of Modernism in Drawing, Aesthetics of Drawing, and various drawing technique classes at Gage Academy of Art in Seattle, Washington.

In scientific illustration Davidson concentrated on archaeological and anthropological subject matter, drawing lithics, pottery, and especially basketry and textiles. To this end she has illustrated various books and journal articles, such as Spruce Root Basketry of the Haida and Tlingit by Sharon Busby (2003 Marquand Books and the University of Washington Press) and The Archaeology of the Yakutat Foreland: a Socioecological View, Volumes I and II, by Stanley Drew Davis (1996).  She has also drawn the maps for Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer (Villard Books, New York, 1996), and Ten Degrees of Reckoning by Hester Rumberg (Berkley Books, 2010).

In contemporary art, her focus in her own drawings is on the subtle and reciprocal relationship between the mark and the surface, along with various related dichotomies such as figure and ground, form and space, and illusion and reality.  Like all drawing artists, she works on various European, American, and Asian art papers and then also draws on such materials as wooden sticks, dessicated leaves, and cloth.

Davidson is the author of Contemporary Drawing: Key Concepts and Techniques, published in 2011 by Watson-Guptill, a division of Random House, New York.

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