February 9, 2015
Stephen Davis’s Whimsical Interiors Play with Line, Shape, and Color
Artsy Editorial, 02/06/2015
Bridget Gleeson

Stephen Davis’s Whimsical Interiors Play with Line, Shape, and Color
Artsy Editorial, 02/06/2015
Bridget Gleeson

A chair, a single chair: often the most easily movable piece of furniture in a room, and possibly the quickest way to make a bold design statement. In Stephen Davis’s work, it’s the suggestion of a chair—and the stark absence of one—that catches the eye, grounding the whimsical scenes that occupy his mixed-media paintings.

Davis’s latest pieces, on display in his “Domestic Interiors” exhibition at David Richard Gallery in Santa Fe, are set in the sphere of the home. This isn’t always apparent at first look: these paintings aren’t realistic. There’s something vaguely Matisse-like about these dreamy compositions—particularly the ones carried out in a vibrant color palette, like Chair 9 or Chair 7 (all works 2014)—the way objects seem to float in the air, suspended in rich cloud-like washes of red and blue.

The artist works in two different studios, one in Texas and the other in northern New Mexico. The heady atmosphere of these wide-open landscapes come through in the work, as do smaller details from his real-life environment, like the scrub bush-like vegetation in EGN and S. But in many of these works, the only instantly distinguishable object is the chair—or rather, the chair rendered in negative space, as if the shape has been cut out of the canvas.

Some feature (rather more prominently than the chair) a block letter, as in Chair 8, creating a childlike alphabet-themed effect on the gallery walls. Others, like Chair 9, center more around a motif that resembles a human eye. It’s a suggestion of the artist’s intent to explore how people visually experience the interior of a room. Read this way, “Domestic Interiors” is all about the human gaze: the eye is huge, the chair comparatively tiny, as if showing a person peering into the rooms of a dollhouse, or even a giant looking through the window of a house.

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January 17, 2017
Globalocation: Celebrating 20 Years of Artnauts
J. Willard Marriott Library
The University of Utah, 01/17/2017

The University of Utah’s J. Willard Marriott Library will host the art exhibition Globalocation: Celebrating 20 Years of Artnauts, Jan. 20-March 3.

Artnauts, an art collective formed 20 years ago by George Rivera, professor of art and art history at the University of Colorado, Boulder, consists of 300 global artists who serve as goodwill ambassadors, acknowledging and supporting victims of oppression worldwide. Their creativity has generated over 230 exhibitions across five continents. Five faculty members from the U’s Department of Art and Art History are members of the collective, Sandy Brunvand, Beth Krensky, V. Kim Martinez, Brian Snapp and Xi Zhang.

Globalocation derives from “Globalocational Art” — a concept used by the Artnauts to refer to their exhibitions in international venues. It is the mission of the Artnauts to take art to places of contention, and this anniversary exhibition is a sample of places where they have been and themes they have addressed.

“The Artnauts could not exist without the commitment of the artists in the collective to a common vision of the transformative power of art,” said Rivera. “The Artnauts make their contribution with art that hopefully generates a dialogue with an international community on subjects that are sometimes difficult to raise.”

Krensky, associate department chair of the Art and Art History Department, had the opportunity to travel with Rivera in Chile as part of an Artnauts project, working with mothers who were searching for their children who had mysteriously disappeared during a time of political unrest.

“When I travelled to Chile in 1998, George and I spent an afternoon with the Mothers of the Disappeared, and the meeting changed my life,” said Krensky. “It was from that moment on that I placed a picture of them on my desk to look at every day. I was so moved by what they each had lost — a son, a brother, a father — and yet what remained for them was a deep, deep well of love. They were fierce warriors and stood up to the government to demand the whereabouts and information of the people who had disappeared, but they lived within profound love.”

The 20th anniversary exhibition at the Marriott Library is a retrospective of the traveling works the Artnauts have toured around the globe. The exhibition will be located on level three of the library. The opening reception is open to the public and will be held on Friday, Jan 20, 4-6 p.m. Rivera will speak at 4 p.m.

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