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Ronald Davis

About the New Work
NuShapes, Torque-Hinges, Diamonds, and GOLD

by Barbara Bentley

Red and Black Hinge, 2002

In October of 2001, Ron Davis began a significant painting series – his first since the Encaustic Series of 1995. After the publication of last summer's Digital Painting giclée prints, the NuShape Series emerged from an ongoing exploration of three-dimensional computer imagery, the use of new materials, and spontaneous experiment. Ever a geometrician, Davis's new shaped paintings embody his characteristic illusionistic, hard-edged optical style, yet express innate joy – and occasionally its opposite – suggesting spiritual transcendence as only his particular use of color and perspective can.

The illusionistic paintings in the NuShape Series were directly informed by the three-dimensional drawings Davis creates using the computer program Cinema 4D XL. An unexpected phenomenon arising from the development of these perspective shapes was the appearance of two additional series, co-emerging with the original paintings and appearing in two groups: the Hinge Series and the Diamond Group. The Hinges literally came from the studio floor, and are a testament to the artist's unfettered humor, wit, and willingness to take risks. In contrast, the jewel-like shaped Diamonds serve as a form of reclamation, reiterating Davis's continuing study of color theory and two-dimensional perspective which he began in 1963. His subsequent rediscovery and innovative reintroduction of three-dimensional and forced perspective in abstract art precipitated Davis's two most historically recognized series, the polyester-resin-and-fiberglass Slab Series and Dodecagon Series of the late 1960s and early 70s. Davis now reviews prior styles which have influenced the new paintings and continue to inform them.

In essence, with this new series Ron Davis renews the internal process of psychic transformation, experiencing an intensely personal alchemy unifying collective art history – primarily his own, but also that of the world – with individual archetype and personal symbol. The resulting artistic expression is that uncommon, torque-hinged gold which ever derives from the prima materia.

He has drawn upon his lifelong career as an artist and the experience of creating more than one thousand paintings over the course of forty years. The work has matured, evolving into a body of paintings in which facility with color, technique, content, and materials is self-evident. Describing the progression from art school paintings to his present series, Davis says he gathered skill and confidence over the years from the series themselves, particularly those which emphasize color, orthographic and perspective drawing, shaped paintings, and construction techniques. His new work is an acute distillation of all he has acquired. "I'm pulling together all the loose ends, using every skill I have and every trick I know," he says openly.

Carl Jung believed that every day devoted to the passionate and courageous pursuit of one's vocation, giving all one has to doing the best one can, is nothing less than the hero's quest. After almost ten years of creating less physically demanding works, Davis has returned to fourteen-hour days in his Arroyo Hondo, New Mexico studio. Speaking about this long-desired return to intense activity in the studio, Davis says, "I embarked upon this series as a matter of personal obligation." He's covered from head to toe with paint, exhausted, sore, and hungry — but he smiles wide. "This is an inside job."

Davis has completed more than 35 paintings as of January 2002, and continues to refine and develop all three interrelated series. These new works have not yet been shown, but studio previews are available upon request.

Violet and Green Hinge, 2001
Notched Slab, 2001
Yellow Hinge, 2001
Two Square Pinch Post, 2001
Blue-Violet Slab, 2001
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