By Leah Ollman
Amid his pensive, engrossing paintings now at Roberts & Tilton, Noah Davis has planted something of a joke: a tight, U-shaped mini-exhibition space formed by temporary walls covered in scuffed gray fabric.
Three small oil paintings hang within but are impossible to see well. “Stacked Cubicles/My Last Art Fair” offers an uncharacteristic moment of levity from Davis, a knowing poke at the crowded and often claustrophobic conditions of art fairs, a self-deprecating snicker at his allotted sliver of visibility.
Noah Davis‘ current exhibition at Roberts & Tilton in Los Angeles, called “The Missing Link,” features murky clues in piercing colors, filling in gaps for memories and mysteries. In Davis’s world, faces are obscured by dark gobs of pigment while fedoras are sharp as ever, giving the canvases a folk-film noire twang. The 30-year-old is known for his art historical literacy, incorporating influences that date back to James Ensor and Balthus. The artist explained in an interview with Ed Templeton his ritual of scouring the Met and other uptown institutions for knowledge: “I would run over to the galleries uptown and pretend I was some fancy collector buying art with pretend money.“
by Yael Lipschutz
Seattle-born, Los Angeles-based artist Noah Davis—known for his large-scale figurative canvases marked by drips, stains and watery veiled layers of paint—delivers a balmy brand of expressionism that these days calls to mind Luc Tuymans and Marlene Dumas. A graduate of Cooper Union, Davis has been included in such acclaimed group exhibitions as “30 Americans” at the Rubell Family Collection in Miami, and “Fore” at the Studio Museum in Harlem.
A.i.A. sat down with Davis in what he calls the Underground Museum, his experimental art space/studio/residence in L.A.’s Crenshaw district, on the eve of “The Missing Link,” his solo exhibition at Roberts & Tilton [through Mar. 30]
By Christopher Knight
The Lost Decade is now finally coming to a close -- unless of course it's not, determined to drag on into the 'teens. "Gray Day," a large and unusually good group exhibition at Roberts and Tilton, gets the bleak tone just right, without shrill hectoring.
Organized by artist Noah Davis, "Gray Day" includes 38 mostly recent paintings, sculptures, photographs and mixed-media works by more than 25 artists. Gray is a prominent color but far from the only one. Present gloominess is more complex than that.
By Susan Emerling
Using Richard Brautgan's 1968 novella In Watermelon Sugar, as his inspiration, Noah Davis presented a series of cryptically narrative and strangely riveting paintigng. Shown under the Title "The Forgotten Wroks," these canvases told of the conflicts within a small group of characters residing in an insular postapocalypic Eden.
By Sharon Mizota
At first, Noah Davis' exhibition at Roberts & Tilton looks like another rehash of Surrealism seen through the lens of gestural painting. Dream-like compositions and appropriated imagery are excecuted witth a vague, casual hand. But spend time with these lushly colored images and they begin to divulge intriguing partial, but surprisingly emotional narratives that push the paintigns beyond faux-naïve Surrealism to touch upon harsher realities.
Interview by Ed Templeton
Ed Templeton: Where were you born?
Noah Davis: In Seattle.
ET: And when did you start painting?
ND: I can't remember not paintng. I painted as a kid. My mom was an art teacher. She taught at the middle school I went to before I went there. I went there for one year while she was teaching and itwas really awkward having my mom as a teacher.