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Studio Sunday: Gene Davis

A photo of studio assistants helping to paint a 1981 Gene Davis work


Studio Sunday artist Gene Davis was an American abstract painter associated with the Color Field style, in which artists created abstract canvases that focused on large areas of monochromatic color. Davis himself was known for large, room-spanning paintings incorporating fields of flat color layered under narrow vertical stripes.


Because Davis so frequently worked on such a large scale, many of his works were produced directly on gallery walls. Therefore, the above image - like the “studio” image of Judith Baca, for example - isn’t actually the artist’s studio at all, but a gallery space that has become a sort of temporary studio.


I’m always curious about what it might be like to have a studio work space that changes so frequently – to spend many hours at work in a relatively public space, or to be constantly switching between new spaces. I guess it would make things a bit interesting for the artist and the studio assistants alike, rather than going in to the exact same room to work on every new project.


There’s not much in the way of equipment visible in this photograph – there’s the scaffold, and the rags that are laid out to protect the floor. I can also see what I assume are numerous rolls of tape strewn about, and the assistant on the scaffold is in the process of taping up the wall. I’d imagine that Davis went through an incredible number of tape rolls through his career.


Davis’ Color Field contemporaries included Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman. Davis worked on numerous public projects throughout his career before his death in 1985. 

[image source]

About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. They hold a degree in Critical and Cultural Practices from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, as well as a certificate in Technical Writing from BCIT. Dallas has a passion for speaking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In their studio practice they are an illustrator and budding tattoo artist, but they consider themselves a writer foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises or their art on Instagram.

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