By Talbert Toole
From “Don’t Mess with Texas” to “Hotty Toddy,” Mary Catherine Davis—better known as Mcat—found her new artistic home in the heart of Oxford.
Davis grew up surrounded by a family full of diverse artists. Her grandmother was an artist, and her mother was a dancer. She said her family always had her involved in artistic projects like spending Sunday afternoons at the theatre or dance performances.
When it was time to decide on furthering her education, Davis looked at several different fine art schools, including the Savannah College of Art and Design. However, a friend asked Davis, “What are you going to do if you don’t like art?”
She decided to visit one more school—Ole Miss. During her visit, Davis said that even though Oxford seemed small, it had a very strong art scene.
“I was kind of drawn to [the art scene],” Davis said. “That’s what pulled me in and how I ended up at Ole Miss.”
Fast forward to May 2018. Davis graduated with a bachelor of fine arts (BFA) from Ole Miss, a prestigious and rigorous program that requires prospective students to present a competitive portfolio after a completion of 18 hours of studio art classes.
Davis said the program was a lot of work, however, with dedication and being surrounded by other artists, the experience was formative to her artistic style and identity as an artist.
“You spend 95 percent of your week in Meek Hall with all the same people,” she said. “You get really close and grow together.”
Upon completion of the BFA program, seniors are required to present their work at an exhibition. Davis said the project is a huge deal for art students because it is essentially the moment artists work towards their entire time during the program.
“I got a lot of validation from people that saw my exhibit, and it helped me believe that art is what I wanted and should be doing,” she said.
Davis’ said her artwork style is abstract and that she pulls influence from her surroundings, however, her pieces are not necessarily representational.
She has recently been painting on a nontraditional canvas, which was inspired by one of her artistic influences—Frank Stella.
The traditional use of a flat canvas is typically the surface artists tend to paint on, however, Davis has tackled Stella’s use of a three-dimensional canvas.
With protruding points and crevasses, Davis has managed to manipulate her paint to produce larger-than-life art pieces.
“A lot of my work right now is focused on movement and trying not to make anything static,” she said.
Davis now resides in her hometown, Dallas, where her artwork will be featured in the Contemporary Art Dealers of Dallas (CADD) exhibition. CADD is an opportunity for new artists in the Dallas region to feature their latest projects, according to Davis.
“I was pretty confident in Oxford’s art scene, but then I came to Dallas… it’s a whole other world,” she said.
She said though her future plans may be unclear, art will forever be her passion.
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