NEW YORK, NY.- Knoedler & Company
inaugurated their representation of Lynn Davis and, simultaneously, opened their first exhibition of her work.
Throughout her career, Lynn Davis has characteristically organized her photographs into series by subject, theme, and /or location, however this exhibition, which includes works from all periods of a career that spans more than three decades, is marked by groups comprising four images, each with divergent subjectsranging from natural forms to ancient monuments to modern and postmodern / contemporary architecture, and even including a rare image from her early Bodywork seriesall of which share formal affinities.
Davis is attracted to each of her monuments because of the interplay between the shapes that make up the structure or its overall form. In fact, her work shares more with the sculpture of David Smith or the paintings of Ellsworth Kelly where form, or the interaction of forms, is the dominant element. . . . Davis refuses our natural desire to be informed about what we are seeinga trait shared with many postmodern artists, such as David Salle, who subvert the need to know in order to free the intellect and imaginationeven though she carefully identifies and locates each example. Emerging from and intertwining the traditions of travel and architecture photography and Davis background in photo journalism, her photographs create a new genre, one that is informed as much by minimalist ideas as by recognizable content. . . . Her images are simultaneously reductive and monumental, just like the large boxes of Donald Judd. Even when her imagery approaches the complex . . . the overall form remains dominant. In every image, the initial impact is of shape and form, two of the building blocks of the language of art foregrounded in process-oriented abstraction expressionism and minimalism. Perhaps an even more apt comparison would be with Cézannes cone, sphere, and cylinder, because the two artists work with recognizable content. In any case, all of these artists revel in the formal aspects of their medium. Vicky A. Clark (2008)
Presenting Lynn Davis in a rigorous context of modern and contemporary art in all media, and outside the exclusive realm of photography, affords the opportunity of an expanded consideration of her work. Davis is known for the metaphorical beauty of her subjects; she has been compared to the great travel photographers of the 19th century, and her work is also known for the serial photographic record she has created of architectural monuments both ancient and modern, of sacred sites, and of land and seascapesmany made more poignant by impending erosion and disappearance. Daviss photographs transcend these categorizations, yet while the primacy of shape and form in her work has been observed by writers on her art, this will be the first solo exhibition to focus on her images as essays in abstraction, beyond time and place.
Lynn Davis received a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1970 and apprenticed with Berenice Abbott in the summer of 1974. She has had sixtyeight solo shows since 1980 and has work in numerous museum collections. She has photographed in forty-eight countries, including Egypt, Yemen, Burma, Cambodia, Russia, Kazakhstan, China, Ethiopia, Sudan, Mali, Iran, Greenland, and most recently Greece, Brazil, and Italy. In 2005, Davis received an Academy Award in Art from the American Academy of Arts & Letters; she was the first photographer ever to receive this award. Her publications include: Space Project (2009), Illumination (2007), American Monument (2004), Monument (1999), Wonders of the African World (1999), and Bodywork (1994). Knoedlers exhibition will coincide with the publication of Sacred Landscapes: The Threshold Between Worlds, by A.T. Mann and Lynn Davis (Sterling Publishing). Lynn Davis lives and works in Hudson, New York and Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.
Lynn Davis: Persistence of Form remains on view through October 30.