Days Like These by David Mah opens at The Medicine Factory on Friday, March 25, from 5-8 pm.
David Mah is a Memphis-based visual artist and a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design. After teaching art at Idlewild Elementary School from 2007-2017, Mah retired early to care for his mother, Jeanine Mah, who passed away in December 2019 and to whom the show is dedicated. The demands of teaching over 500 students a week on a limited budget left little time for Mah to paint his own works.
Mah’s first show in Memphis in a decade is a powerful one. The series of paintings began as an homage to Edward Hopper, one of his most revered influences. The paintings are inspired by a memory of spending Thanksgiving morning watching giant cartoon-shaped balloons from the third floor of a friend’s New York apartment.
With the arrival of the pandemic, the balloons were replaced by an invisible menace that lurked beyond the vantage point of the subjects in the paintings. When asked about the impact of the pandemic on his work, Mah replied, “The pandemic had a huge impact on the paintings I have worked on for the past two years. Most of the paintings are about people living in confined spaces, disconnected to the outside world or from each other.”
This body of work is about empathy and shared connection. Mah’s hope is that viewers’ own experiences and sentiments connect them to the paintings’ subjects, giving them empathy for the strangers on the canvas.
In addition to the Friday opening, the space will be open for viewing on Saturday, March 26, from 11am – 3 pm, and then by appointment through April 10. The Medicine Factory is located at 85 Virginia Avenue W in an 18,000 sq. ft. building, originally built in 1912 for McConnon & Co. Mfg.