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CAROLYN KINDER CARR When, in 1963 at the age of twenty-six, Jaime Davidovich emigrated from Argentina to the United States, he brought with him his most recent paintings, a series of small landscapes. These sought to evoke the unending terrain of the Pampas, to realize within a vocabulary of limited means and image of unlimited implications. Although Davidovich's work has changed during the last ten years in terms of materials, scale, and space, what has remained constant is his interest in confronting the environment, and his desire to illuminate the inherent physical and metaphysical properties of this environment with a minimum manipulation of the pictorial materials. The major transformation in Davidovich's work occurred in 1967 when he began to seel ways to dissolve the discordant object/background relationship in his paintings. Davidovich's initial solution to his problem was to continue to work on a stretched canvas which he then removed from the teachers and placed directly on the wall. While the merging of the canvas and the wall surface pleased him, together with the need to cope with the sheer weight of the canvas, ultimately led Davidovich to the use of industrial tapes in various colors, materials, and sizes. The earliest piece which Davidovich exhibited using tape was in 1971 in a group show sponsored by the Cleveland chapter of E.A.T. at Lake Erie Colled in Painesville. In this spacious campus gallery, Davidovich was given a 15' x 35' wall. He covered it with alternating horizontal strips of white cloth tape, white cloth tape, white paper tape, and canvas painted with white acrylic in sizes varying from 4" to 15". Without destroying the architectural entity, Davidovich was able to develop a composition based on the rhythmic repetition of the lines and planes of the joined and banded materials and to present a surface that was modulated by the shifting play of colors and light which emerged from the difference inherent in the materials. Like the perception of the Pampas, limited only by the physical limitations of the eye, the imagery of the wall at Lake Erie implied a potentially endless statement, inhibited only by the arbitrary dimensions of the format. Davidovich has his first one-man show in February, 1971, in Cleveland, the city in which he has lived since 1967 when he left New York. The exhibition at John Carroll University gave Davidovich the opportunity to create a total environment with his tapes. The beige burlap, which was on the walls of the gallery, was augmented by a play of Scotch 5" green cloth tapes and burlap stripes painted by Davidovich. These areas of color were used to delineate features of the room such as windows, alcoves, beams, and to establish a pictorial harmony within the room by providing the environmental composition with various counterbalancing shapes. The John Carroll room was followed by a tape and wall project of January, 1973, as part of a group show with five other young regional artists, at the Akron Art Institute. Davidovich covered the entire 10' x 60' wall of the gallery with a single material, a 4" clear vinyl tape. Letting his composition emerge from the indigenous properties of the material, Davidovich created a field, literally constructed in an additive manner, which appeared to subdivide the wall into a series of vertical grids. These modules not only decentralized the picture surface and created a pattern of line and plane across the surface of the image, but also provided a geometric foundation for the randomly places, amorphously shaped patterns of air bubbles which appear in the process of applying the vinyl tape. From these chance visual incidences came a sense of the physical space that projected forth from the surface plane. The shallow cast shadows enhanced the illusion of spatial dimension. In November of 1971, again participating in an E.A.T. exhibition, Davidovich used alternating striped of yellow and white 10" paper tapes to delineate the winding staircase space which led to the Fine Arts Gallery at John Carroll University. Davidovich was able to imply an experience comparable to the endlessness of a conveyor belt, while accentuating the jagged geometry of the stairs. In May, 1972, Davidovich did his first outdoor piece, a commission for the New Gallery in Cleveland. On Belleflower Road, in the heart of the Case Western Reserve University campus, is a two-block-long side-walk which extends from the New Gallery to the Cleveland Museum of Art. On this walk the artist suggested a series of "Stations" which followed the existing organization of the walk. He divided his composition into two parts. On one section he covered the incised areas between the blocks of cement with a 1" white cloth tape to emphasize the negative [[image]] Jaime Davidovich, United, 1973, microfoar JAIME DAVIDOV
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