15 September 2008

Ian Davis.

Banquet, Acrylic on Canvas

Hoboken, New Jersey artist Ian Davis incorporates the systems and geometry of minimalism within a descriptive style of painting that is timeless in its simplicity. His works are infused with biting social commentary, showcasing battlefields, boardrooms and a bleak and inane world. Hapless men are often the subjects of Davis's large-scale works, representing the absurdity of the human condition.

Favoring the depiction of entropic situations over specific narrations, in Davis’s universe systems crash and things fall apart. Whether populated or not (very often by groups of identically dressed men), all of his works retain a strong masculine presence, tinged by sardonic humor.

In Auditorium, hundreds of men sit in chairs, facing a central podium, waiting for the announcement that is never made or the leader who never appears. Two related works, Corporation and Doldrum, depict archaic industrial structures, the former a benign observation of what a factory does and the latter, a more sinister rendering of what a factory is.

Davis’s figures are iconic representations — soldiers in period costumes, prisoners in stripes, businessmen in skinny black suits — in which the uniform is a formal device that underscores his interest in ideas rather than individuals. Patterning and repetition are used to engender structure and meaning while providing the artist with a kind of trance-like process that enables him to become hypnotically involved in the act of painting itself.

Ian Davis was born in Indianapolis in 1972. He received a BFA in Painting at Arizona State University in 1994 and attended the Summer Residency Program at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2005. A solo show of his work is planned for February 2009 at New York's Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects gallery.

Auditorium, Acrylic on Masonite

Chant, Acrylic on Canvas

Clients, Acrylic on Linen

Prisoners, Acrylic on Canvas

Formation, Acrylic on Linen

Ceremony, Acrylic on Canvas