Show Preview | John Axton & Jennifer Davenport

Santa Fe, NM
Ventana Fine Art, July 25-August 6

John Axton, Shiprock, oil, 12 x 12.

John Axton, Shiprock, oil, 12 x 12.

This story was featured in the July 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art July 2014 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!

Painters John Axton and Jennifer Davenport have a lot in common. They’ve been friends for many years. They love the color black and skillfully use it in their work. Both have painted realistically and gradually evolved toward a greater degree of abstraction. Pairing their work in one show is a natural choice. Into Tomorrow: New Paintings by John Axton
& Jennifer Davenport, featuring 30 new works by the artists, opens at Ventana Fine Art on July 25 with an artists’ 
reception from 5 to 7 p.m. The show remains on view through August 6. “The show will be a tour de force of contemporary design and masterful technique by two of Ventana’s top painters,” says gallery owner Connie Axton. “John Axton and Jennifer Davenport are both masterful manipulators of their mediums, with each having a phenomenal bank of technical skills and each able to come up with new and exciting compositions throughout equally distinguished careers.”

John Axton calls the style of his latest oil paintings “representational transitional abstraction.” The show features 15 of his works created during the past six months. While Axton is drawn to many colors, including vibrant reds and deep golds, he feels a special affinity for black. “It’s the mystery of black I like,” he explains. “It’s an elegant color.” Abstraction was Axton’s initial passion as an artist, but it wasn’t until several years ago, after a few of his friends died, that Connie Axton suggested he return to it. “I find myself further inside myself when I do abstraction,” he says. “Abstraction definitely gives me a more complete feeling of satisfaction.”

Jennifer Davenport, Raven’s Flight II, acrylic, 20 x 20.

Jennifer Davenport, Raven’s Flight II, acrylic, 20 x 20.

In her most recent abstract work, Davenport expresses herself through acrylics. Among her 15 works in the show are paintings from her Forever and Forever series and The Blackboard series. “The Blackboard series is something very new for me,” she says. “I gave it that name because it reminds me of my art studies from childhood through young adulthood, when I used a blackboard in school. That was an inspirational and playful time. It was a time of play without definitions.” While black is not dominant in The Blackboard series, it is integrated into the abstractions. “Black 
is a very beautiful and healing color,” Davenport says. “I’ve used it many times in my work.”

Although the two artists share a 
passion for abstraction, Connie Axton notes the delightful differences between these veteran painters. “Both artists have signature elements that make it easy to identify their paintings as the work of that artist and no other,” she says. “Their ideas about color, design, and composition are dramatically different from each other’s but quite complementary in showing beautifully together. They have given each other peer support while maintaining their stunningly individual originality and consistent popularity with collectors.” —Emily Van Cleve

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Featured in the July 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
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