Lisa Corinne Davis explores the complex relationship of race, culture, and history, where form and content merge. She uses abstraction to explore how society compresses identity into singular terms. Davis believes that identity is much more convoluted and complex to be narrowed down to race and gender. She weaves together ruled lines and primary colors with gestural work and organic forms. Davis uses the map as a metaphor for the viewer to try to locate themselves within the composition. Her “inventive geography” prompts a wide range of interpretations, its open-endedness a stance she actively cultivates. The resultant mix of eclectic form and content is surprising as well as stimulating. Davis, says her practice explores the complex relationship between “race, culture and history” and, with it, ideas about classification and contingency, the rational and irrational, chaos and order.


Lisa Corinne Davis (b. 1958, Baltimore, MD) uses abstraction to explore the interiority of concepts such as race, culture, and history, challenging classification and contingency. Her art depends on the idea that nothing is concrete, but rather a “subjective construct of culture, biases, assumptions, and personal predispositions.” Davis’ style is cartographic, abstractly rendering a space of oddly familiar yet essentially ephemeral visuals. Her map-like works turn fantastical and strange, speaking to the fluidity of culture and one’s location within it as an individual. Recently, Davis has worked more with the materiality of paint, allowing the process of working with paint to flow more organically.  


The paintings of Lisa Corinne Davis have been exhibited in museums and galleries across the United States and Europe. Her work is in institutions including: The Museum of Modern Art, New York; J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; and Victoria and Albert Museum, London. She is the recipient of numerous awards including a 2022 Guggenheim Fellowship award, a 2021 Arts and Letters Award in Art from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a 2020 Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, The Louis Comfort Tiffany grant, a National Endowment for the Arts' Visual Artist Fellowship, and three New York Foundation for the Arts, Visual Arts Fellowships. Davis' work has been reviewed by periodicals such as The New York Times, Art in America, ArtNews and Hyperallergic. Her work is currently on view as part of a group exhibition at the Sheldon Art Museum, and was recently included in a group exhibition at The Milton Resnick and Pat Passlof Foundation. Davis participated Between States, a group exhibition to benefit abortion rights co-curated by Michael David and Jennifer Samet, and was included in The Art of Making It, a recently premiered independent documentary film that won the South x South West Audience Award. Davis has an upcoming solo exhibition at Jenkins Johnson Gallery in Los Angeles. She has taught art for the past twenty-five years at institutions including: Parsons School of Design, Cooper Union School of Art, and Yale University. Davis is currently a Professor of Art, and Co-Director of the MFA program and Head of Painting at Hunter College in New York. She lives and works in Brooklyn and Hudson, New York.  


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FlowSTATE/North Brooklyn Artists, Episode 108

Gorky's Grandaughter


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