Arty Girl: James G. Davis at Riva Yares Gallery

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When I'm driving alone in my car, I do really weird things.

No, nothing like that, you perv.

I practice telling stories. It's not on purpose or anything, but, I'll be thinking about my destination; who will be there, what the conversation will be like and how I'm going to win them over...

Before I know it, I'm halfway through a story that I've told out loud to myself complete with hand gestures, crazy facial expressions and voice impressions of the characters involved. Then, I think about ways to improve it, say it over and over again until I get it right just in time for the drive to be over. I catch myself doing this often and now have made a story out of it to show what a silly weirdo I am.

So I've actually practiced telling the story of how I practice telling stories in my car while driving my car.

Shouldn't that mess up  the space time continuum or something?

Oh well, whatever. The point is, I love storytelling. And James G. Davis knows how to engage my storytelling skills with his paintings. His works will be on display at Riva Yares Gallery starting tomorrow, March 14th.

Now, his visual stories may not be totally clear from start to finish. But he certainly relates to his viewer. It's pretty simple trick, really. He paints people and he paints them doing stuff (hey, we're people who do stuff, too!).

Although the stuff they're doing isn't linear or complete...it's broken up into little snippets of a larger story, just begging to be told. Davis only gives you so much to work with and, you have a choice of walking away unfulfilled or taking your own initiative to get creative. I hope he knows how irresistible it is for viewers to fill in the story gaps with their own narrative, making his work even more personal.

It's a fun exercise that can probably lead to some dark, strange, comical and stimulating places. And it's good practice for your storytelling skills...

"Paintings" by James G. Davis at Riva Yares Gallery, 3625 Bishop Lane in Scottsdale, opens Saturday, March 14th with a preview with the artist from 2-5 p.m. Exhibition runs until April 31st. Visit www.rivayaresgallery.com or call 480-947-3251.

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Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.