Slate Gray South presents Ment(or/ee) featuring Gil Bruvel and David Davis. This mentor/mentee relationship began 6 years ago when Bruvel was looking for an additional studio assistant. Bruvel took Davis under his wing, showing by example and explaining how to self-sustain as an artist. Now, several years later, Davis gets to mentor young, aspiring artists as well. Although both artists mentor, they are also still mentees at heart.
“Both Gil and I are still ‘students’ of the arts in the way that we are always learning. It makes sense to propagate a constant drive for learning in others in order to perpetuate positive creative pathways for everyone involved. It doesn’t always matter what you know, but how hard you’re willing to work in order to learn.” - David Davis
The mentor, Gil Bruvel, pieces together thousands of wooden sticks with exact precision to construct meditative faces for his “Masks” and “Pixelated Forms” series. The meticulous process involves cutting and stacking each piece by hand, taking a torch to the sticks to enhance the natural wood texture beneath the surface, and then painted with colors to stimulate the senses. The result – portraits that embody deep inner reflection, promote calm and relaxation, and achieve mental equilibrium. While tranquil facing forward, sticks of varied depth create an abstract pattern on the back of the rotating heads of “Pixelated Forms.” The patterns may feel more intense, peaceful, or somewhere in between. The varied sticks are Bruvel’s depiction of neurons firing produced by the emotion the subject is feeling.The front emotion and back neurons may match, or differ dramatically exposing the juxtaposition of one’s external versus internal expression.
The mentee, David Davis, forged his artistic career with fire as he welds hundreds of pieces of steel into beautifully posed forms for his “Reflections” series. A long-standing passion for figurative arts was the driving force behind the series which began almost four years ago. Each work starts with the subject striking a pose. Davis then photographs and sketches the model, measures every inch of her body, and finally welds the pieces together shard by shard to recreate the model to scale. The figures Davis creates are elegant, poised, and emanate an air of serenity. There is peace found within the negative space, a moment of pause, that breaks up the fragments of metal that compose each body. Many of his subjects are holding yoga poses, are deep within a meditative state, or are taking time for reflection – embodying ideas of physical, mental, and spiritual self betterment.
Gil Bruvel may be the original master, however David Davis is quickly catching up – the viewer can expect to be transfixed by form from the mentor and mentee.