Fine Arts Life + Arts

UH alumna debuts “troublewithwords” art exhibit

Winter Street Studios debuted a collection of art from a UH alumna this week.

Jamie Ellen Davis earned her Bachelor of Arts from Pratt Institute in 2008 and completed her Master of Fine Arts at UH in 2014, where she focused on drawing and printmaking.

Davis’s current collection of art is entitled “troublewithwords” and tells the story of the learning disabilities that she has lived with.

She stated that her work is “simultaneously self-exploratory and self-revelatory.”

Almost all of her displayed works feature words, letters or the mimicry of those; misspelled scrawled words mingle with abstract shapes.


“troublewithwords” is in Fresh Arts studio and is free admission. | Mitchell McCluskey

Davis explained that the shapes and lines are designed to reflect the forms of words.

Other works depict her dissection of the word and its roots before concluding with a proper spelling.

She described many of her works as akin to a diary.

“If you turn the pages over, you can see my writing,” Davis said.

Though the idea behind the project is complex, the layout of the art is simple — white walls, pages with pencil marks and occasional pops of blue, red or yellow.

The entire collection is set in a pure white studio — excluding the yellow stripes that line the walls that Davis said are reminiscent of athletic tube socks, relating to her love of athletics.

For Davis, the work is more personal than “purely visual (or) purely textual.”

“The work must be seen and read,” Davis said. “It tells my story of my issues with language. It’s really my narrative.”

In regard to the creation process, Davis said that it was an integral part of her work, even though it may not be obvious.

“I often remake things to problem solve — it’s a really big aspect of my work that you never really see.”

She mentioned that items as simple as the brochure were recreated almost twenty times to meet her standards.

“To be honest, seeing people read all of the words is a big success,” Davis said. “There’s a lot of words and I hate reading, so that is a success to me.”

The work will be on display at 201 Winter St. until March 13.

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