15 aprile, 2009

Ian Davis: Strange Geometry at Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects

Ian Davis: Strange Geometry at Leslie Tonkonow Artworks +
ProjectsIan Davis: Strange Geometry at Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects

Ian Davis, Vigil, 2009. Acrylic on canvas, 75 x 80 inches
Ian Davis: Strange Geometry
Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects
535 West 22nd Street
New York, NY 10011
Phone: +
Fax: +1.212.414.8744

Gallery Hours:
Tuesday - Saturday, 10am - 6pm
March 5 - May 2, 2009

Ian Davis"s newest works form an absurdist theater in which little mysteries
are enacted by large groups of men against the backdrops of anonymous
institutions and forbidding landscapes. Since his first one-person
exhibition at the gallery two years ago, Davis"s paintings have become
increasingly complex and autobiographical. The minimalist geometry of his
earlier work, now more intricate and entangled, supports darker narratives.
Permeated with angst and anticipation, they reveal a critical imagination,
contemplating the complexities of his own life, as well as the world around
him. Davis continues to structure and pattern his paintings with formations
of archetypal male figures: black-suited businessmen, soldiers in period
costumes, scientists wearing white lab coats. Their clone-like homogeneity
and regimented geometry evoke Orwellian images of totalitarian regimes and
the dystopia of Terry Gilliam"s film Brazil. Its famous opening subtitle,
"Somewhere in the 20th Century," could begin to describe many of Davis"s
works: Somewhere in the 20th Century men are gathering . . . waiting and

The intrigue in Ian Davis"s narratives is also achieved through the use of
anachronistic juxtapositions. In Estimate (2007), typical 1950s
"organization men" confront a grid of primitive machines in a
nineteenth-century factory setting. In Excavation (2008), men outfitted in
helmets and lab coats observe as an immense wooden ship is extracted from
the earth by a large fluorescent orange crane. In another painting, a
massive stone quarry is inspected by hundreds of men wearing midnight blue
uniforms who stand by in groups or climb on ladders alongside electrical
cords that are also painted fluorescent orange. The artist depicts the
action in both paintings as graphically illuminated by clinical white lights
from flood lamps or headlamps. Davis acknowledges that the birth of his
first child in January of last year has had a profound effect on his art.
The crane, ladders, and wires might then be understood as symbols of
parturition, and the paintings, although partly inspired by photographs of
actual occurrences, as metaphors for birth and rebirth.

Born in Indianapolis in 1972, Ian Davis has lived throughout the United
States and currently maintains a studio in Hoboken, NJ. He received a BFA
from Arizona State University in 1994 and held a residency at the Skowhegan
School of Painting & Sculpture in 2005. Davis has participated in group and
solo shows in the US and Europe and has been the subject of articles and
reviews in publications such as Artforum, Art in America, New York Magazine,
and The New York Times. Davis"s works are included in distinguished public
and private collections in the US and Europe, such as the Nerman Museum of
Contemporary Art, Overland Park, KS and the Saatchi Gallery, London. This
is his second one-person exhibition at the gallery.