Ronald Davis: Paintings from The Music Series

Page 1

Ronald DAvis: Paintingsfrom TheMusicSeries
Installation photograph of paintings from left to right: Stereo, 1983, ASharpBFlat, 1984, and Trill, 1985


Early Modern to Contemporary

Ronald Davis



Opening Reception: 4 - 6 pm | Saturday, February 18

Exhibition Dates: February 7 - March 25, 2023

DGPaintingonPaper, 1984 22 x 30”, cel-vinyl acrylic on paper


For four years during the 1980s, Ronald Davis, b. 1937, poured and dripped the opaque, cel-vinyl acrylic paint, historically used by animators, onto canvas and paper. He worked in brilliant flashes of colors, sometimes adding other liquid mediums to make translucent layers that add depth and light. From 1982-85, the artist completed over a hundred works in The Music Series — 80 on canvas, the others on paper.

By the time The Music Series was created, Davis had already built a successful career making geometric abstract paintings, rising to fame in the late 60s and 70s. His work is included in the collections of the Corcoran Museum of Art in Washington, D.C.; the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City; the Tate Gallery in London; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and other public collections.

Trill 1985 Cel-vinyl acrylic on canvas 51.25 x 29.875” ASharpBFlat, 1984 54 x 44”, cel-vinyl acrylic on canvas

The paintings in this series became a way for Davis to break out of societies preconcieved notions of what to expect from him, giving new life and direction in his work that has not been seen in such a way since.

As Davis himself has written: “The ‘Music Series’ represents an ‘outside the box’ departure from my trademark perspective illusionistic works of the 1960s and 1970s. Even though the prior work contained painterly and expressionistic elements, I felt trapped inside the boxes of time and space. With the ‘Music Series,’ I returned to my roots as an Abstract Expressionist, pouring out my accumulated knowledge of the activity of making paintings.

“... (The paintings) are, in no small measure, a reaction to the fickle and difficult art world of the 1970s and 1980s. They are, too, an homage to my heroes: painter Jackson Pollock, composer Charles Ives and instrument builder Don Buchla. They were painted with my heart, and not with my intellect.”

Stereo 1983
Cel-vinyl acrylic on canvas 51.5 x 32” Bell Gate 1984 Cel-vinyl acrylic on canvas 39.5 x 18.625”

Synthi, 1984

54 x 54”, cel-vinyl acrylic on canvas Installation of Synthi, 1984 and BellGate, 1984

The Music Series was first exhibited at BlumHelman, New York, in 1984, the year many of these exhibited works were created. BlumHelman in New York and Los Angeles were two of the galleries representing Davis at the time. A selecton of this series, specifically the works on paper, were also exhibited at the Corcoran Gallery in Los Angeles. A selection of paintings, some of which are featured in this exhibition, were also shown at Eight Modern in Santa Fe, 2007.

In December of 2004, the Harwood Museum of Art opened their exhibition of The Music Series, curated by David L. Witt. Featuring some of the largest paintings from the series, nearly 17 feet wide, the raw emotion and masterful intuition of Davis bellowed throughout the space. These particular paintings can captivate an individual the minute they enter a room.

This series accentuates and revisits Davis’ roots within Abstract Expressionism, which can be seen in his early career works. Davis, born in California and raised in Wyoming, was inspired by Wyoming-born Jackson Pollock and, subsequently, witnessing such a profound artist make it big from the same rural state influenced Davis’ decision to keep his unspoken promise made to Abstract Expressionism decades before.

While critics and clients were focused on the foreignness of this series when in conversation with his other works, most seemed to overlook that this Jackson Pollockinspired technique has been a common thread in Davis’ artwork since the artist’s early years of success. This technique can be found in the artist’s highly-sought after polyester resin and fiberglass artworks, as many feature the instinctive drops by Davis, as he poured layers of paint backward, face down, onto the picture plane that would then be visible to the viewer.

Davis’ process has always required him to see what is not yet there, to pull his vision into reality through intuition rather than sheer logic.

Detail of ASharpBFlat, 1984, 54 x 44”, cel-vinyl acrylic on canvas
203 FI NE ART Early Modern to Contemporary 1335 Gusdorf Rd . Suite i . Taos . NM . 87571 575.751.1262
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.