SCHISMS – VAUGHN DAVIS JR

Copyright Romer Young Gallery

Italiano (Italian)

Press release

Romer Young Gallery – 12  Marzo, 2021 – 1 Maggio, 2021
1240 22nd Street, San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 550-7483
info@romeryounggallery.com

Romer Young Gallery is excited to present, Schisms its first solo exhibition with St. Louis artist Vaughn Davis Jr. The exhibition will be on view March 12 through May 1, 2021.

“Since its inception, my painting practice has turned itself, through me, as a composition of systematic cuts and imprecise colors. These systems are predicated upon the dismantlement of the picture plane and the deconstruction of the painting process. Through the process I create objects of madness. It’s an inherited chaos through their occupation in this time. Each canvas is multiple expressions within itself; splatter, spill, dye, tear, fray to become a powerful chronicle of our time.”

Davis’s work builds upon the tenets of Abstract Expressionism and considers painting in an expanded form. The artist’s work occupies a teasingly ambiguous realm where painting leaves off, sculpture begins, and performance interlineates. Schisms presents a collection of vibrant forms characterized by cut, frayed, ripped, shredded, and sliced surface treatments of flat, pigmented and unprimed large canvases. The precisely shredded canvases echo traditions of painting while simultaneously integrating processes relating to performance and happenings. Ultimately, each canvas is a documentation of its making, an embodiment of time, space and emotion created by the very body and movement of the artist himself.

“The waves of color weather the storm. Through compositions of sponged colors, I poetically paint the motions of my emotions. My canvases weather a private storm, here in my home, within the currents of contemporary art.”

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With a nod to predecessors, inspirations and influences – Sam Gilliam, Eva Hesse, Lucio Fontana, Al Loving, Mary Lovelace O’Neal, Helen Frankenthaler, Sabuko Murakami, to name a few – Davis inserts himself into the history of the humble, cotton cloth. The artist has done away with the rectangular canvas by eliminating the stretcher bars. His canvases hang and spill off the wall creating organic, formless, unfurled, open-ended, shape-shifting objects. Davis soaks and stains the unprimed canvas with pools of acrylic pigment allowing the paint to merge with the weave of the canvas. Pigment after pigment, the surface slowly builds up, only to be undone by an intuitive series of actions – quick and imprecise cuts intermingled with broad heavy handed tears. Tattered, distressed and deconstructed, the artist draws a polarity between the unweaving of the canvas with the revealing of the self.  With each splatter, spill, dye, tear, and fray a new layer of expression is added or uncovered. These “objects of madness” allude as much to the artist himself as they do to the current climate; they grapple with the state of his own being, while also metaphorically mirroring the unraveling of societal norms. Using simple concepts and simple gestures, Davis creates unique encounters for the viewer that lie at the edge of inside/outside, chaos/order, individual/collective. Beautiful and raw, his abstractions make subtle statements that add depth to art’s role in a society undergoing dramatic change.

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Abstract art is rarely as pure or self-contained as it is often championed to be. Davis’ abstractions challenge the notion that there are universal certainties and are ultimately shaped from the individual experience of his everyday life, reflecting personal stories and layered meanings. Like Yves Klein who conceived of the life of the artist as artwork, Davis too ‘chooses to express feeling rather than figurative form, thus moving beyond ideas of artistic representation, conceiving the work of art instead as a trace of communication between him and the world; invisible truths are made visible. Collectively, the works are “maps of life at full blast” – they are loud, active, and hang as evidence of presence and absence, past and present, stillness and chaos. Davis’ works “hang in their own identity,” living as a product of this time.

Vaughn Davis Jr. lives and works in St. Louis, Missouri. He received his BFA with Departmental Honors in Sculpture from Webster University in St. Louis. His work has been exhibited at Dragon Crab Turtle, Monaco Gallery and The Luminary in St. Louis, MO; Gazebo Gallery, Kent, OH; among others. He has had solo exhibitions at Philip Slein Gallery and the Center of Creative Arts both located in St. Louis and is included in a group show at Abattoir Gallery, Cleveland OH.

For additional information, please contact the gallery at 415.550.7483 or email info@romeryounggallery.com.

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