Julyan Davis, Go and Do the Best You Can (Little Maggie), 2012

This painting is from the artist’s series Ballads, based on songs from the Southern Appalachians. Davis says “Regarding the ballad paintings, I’m not sure if I want to tell the story that clearly. They are more about conveying a mood—quite a melancholic one, about being trapped in a place or a relationship. The songs to me are full of a longing for escape, and the often dramatic conclusion… is just a way to make that feeling of isolation extremely compelling.”

This particular ballad is about jealousy and possession. Some of the lyrics go as such:

“Over yonder stands little Maggie

With a dram glass in her hands

She’s drinking away her troubles

And a courting another man”


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