Damien Davis (b. 1984, Cowley, LA) is a Brooklyn-based artist who was raised in Phoenix, Arizona. His practice explores historical representations of Blackness by unpacking the visual language of various cultures, questioning how societies code/decode/recode representations of race through craft, design, and digital modes of production. His work has appeared at The Whitney Museum of American Art, Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Arts and Design, and various galleries across the country. He is the recipient of the Rema Hort Mann Foundation Community Engagement Grant. He has been awarded residencies with Dieu Donné, Triangle Arts Association, the Museum of Arts and Design, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Pilchuck Glass School, and Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art and Storytelling.
Mr. Davis is also a former fellow and current advisor for the Art & Law Program in New York City and a board member for the Fire Island Artist Residency. His work has been mentioned in the New York Times, Frieze Magazine, The Guardian, Hyperallergic, Vulture Magazine and NYLON. He is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Sculpture at Purchase College (SUNY) and holds a BFA in Studio Art and an MA in Visual Arts Administration from New York University.
SEARCHING., Project for Empty Space, Newark, NJ.
SEARCHING. a solo exhibition by 2022 Artist in Residence Damien Davis probes the multiple social connotations of “searching.” These interpretations include notions of collective exploration, from universal questioning to the intimacy of personal and interior probing. Created from cascading laser-cut fluorescent acrylic, the works in the exhibition physically and conceptually layer experiences pertinent to the Black and QTPOC American experience. The artist's labyrinthine reflections on the implications of police surveillance/home invasion/’security’, intimacy/sex/queerness/Black precarity, and loneliness/darkness/violence/harm are embedded within each work.
SEARCHING. maintains Davis’ practice of incorporating humor and innocuousness. His works contain familiar motifs including, but not limited to, afropicks, figures in profile wearing cap crowns, watch gears, rocket ships, butt plugs, dildos, and West African masks. Multiple entendres are embedded within his playfulness: fear, loathing, anxiety, and desire. Revealed under the ultraviolet glow of the blacklight, his shapes are satisfyingly clean-cut, bright, and tactile.
SEARCHING is on view until May 29th, 2023. Project for Empty Space is open from Wednesday - Saturday, and by appointment.