RARE is pleased to announce Indian Summer, an installation of various sculptural works by James Davis. The show runs from May 26 to June 23, and marks the artist's third solo exhibition with the gallery.
Indian Summer references the metaphor of the late and sudden bloom of something unexpectedly, just as dry and hazy temperatures can fleetingly occur after a brutal frost. Davis' work demonstrates a similar phenomenon through the utilization of commonplace materials that are manufactured for one particular purpose but are manipulated in unforeseen ways to evoke the beauty of Nature.
Davis masters his materials to replicate that which cannot be man-made. In his hands, hardware store items such as fluorescent lights are transformed into soft-edged sunsets, casino dice into blazing infernos, and carpet fragments into desolate moons. Through his tongue-in-cheek reproductions, he allows us new and unexpected ways to appreciate Nature's bounty, while also revealing hidden beauties in low-grade, industrial-type products employed to mimic it.
By combining "hardware store science" with references to past artistic movements, Davis raises philosophical issues concerning the relationship between Man and Nature, particularly in terms of how humans define and perceive natural beauty. For example, using little more than fluorescent lights, color filters, and some tarps, Soft Sunset (2009-11) takes cues from the Luminists, the Hudson River School, Rothko, James Turrell, and Dan Flavin in its imitation of what we have come to expect of a perfect sunset.
101 (2010) touches upon the very concepts of creation and destruction by projecting a simulated fireball onto a wall by means of filtering light through scores of arranged casino dice, revealing that the line between these two polarities is indeed blurred. In this sculpture as in others, the artist's materials are "symbolic" to the work in that they are subtle expressions of its meaning.
Davis received a BFA in sculpture from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA, in 2001, and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Skowhegan, ME, in the summer of that year. He obtained an MFA in sculpture from Ohio State University in Columbus, OH, in 2003. In 2009, Davis had a one-person exhibition (Full Spectrum) at the University of Memphis Art Museum. His work has been in group shows in Chicago, New York, Richmond, and San Francisco. One of his large-scale installations, Shower (2008), was acquired by the Tishman Speyer Art Collection and is on exhibit at Tysons International Plaza in Vienna, Virginia.