contemporary art

Davis Rhodes

Canada 1983

Davis Rhodes
Davis Rhodes
January 18, 2015

Davis Rhodes is a New York-based painter, best known for his unusual stripped down paintings, made out of enamel, polyester film and plastic sheet, and his foamboard monolithic panels and vinyl drapes on the walls. Using these mediums, he reproduces symbols derived from the visual setting of the city – posters, banners, and flyers.

Rhodes was born in 1983 in Victoria, Canada. He received his BA from Vassar College in 2005, and MFA from Columbia University’s School of the Arts in 2007.

Davis Rhodes’ multimedia works appropriate and manipulate images from commercial advertisements, in a critical statement about the illusions and artifice of consumer culture. He picks these images from popular and commonplace sources – like hip hop posters, neon signs, and store awnings – and reduces them to unrecognizably angular, abstract shapes, rendered in monochromatic color. Typically printed onto backing made from cheap materials, including foam core, photographic paper, Plexiglas, and vinyl, Rhodes is avoiding only the traditional stretched canvases.

While Rhodes’ earlier work referenced advertising and urban signage, more recent paintings admit this genealogy but deny viewers the simple pleasure of recognition, playing on the tension of an internal and external space. Quietly and concisely, Davis Rhodes tweaks perception using his ephemeral hardedge abstractions, where industrially produced materials lean on the wall, lightweight but heavy with presence. Large freestanding folded boards seem almost ominous, while others, leaning against the walls, give the impression of fragility. Referring to his works as not being a minimalist exercise but rather radical transformation of the materials he is working with, Rhodes describes the feeling in the room as ‘total freedom from hierarchy, alienation or the pressure of identity.’

The shiny, achromatic panels display a proficiency in the visual languages of minimal and post-minimalism, and yet their imperfections – drips, cracks, warps – coupled with their unpretentious material presence deny fluency, imploring the viewer to look elsewhere for these paintings’ similarities. The viewer’s ground becomes as uncertain as that of the artwork he confronts, giving those simplistic pieces of latex and enamel on foamcore his own inner meaning. Rhodes wants his viewers to feel disorientation, to ‘not know where to stand or how to organize themselves from any fixed point in relation to the effects of the work.’

Davis Rhodes has been exhibiting his paintings since 2006, and had numerous gallery and museum exhibitions, including shows at the Team Gallery, Grand Street and at the Office Baroque Gallery.

The artist lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

YearExhibition titleGallery/MuseumGroup/Solo
201339 Great JonesGalerie Eva Presenhuber, ZurichGroup
2012Untitled ‘12Société, BerlinSolo
2012Davis RhodesTeam Gallery, New YorkSolo
201239 Great JonesNew YorkGroup
2012Trojan HorsesBugada & Cargnel, ParisGroup
2012Ghosts Before BreakfastWhite Flag Projects, St. LouisGroup
2011A Hole is to DigOffice Baroque Gallery, AntwerpGroup
2011Group ExhibitionFormalist Sidewalk Poetry Club, Miami BeachGroup
2011Gruppenausstellung 2Max Hans Daniel, BerlinGroup
2011ShapesSammlung Haubrok, BerlinGroup
2010Davis RhodesOffice Baroque, AntwerpSolo
2010It‘s All AmericanNew Jersey MOCA, New JerseyGroup
2009Untitled ‘09Team Gallery, New YorkSolo
2009Besides, With, Against and Yet: Abstraction and The Ready-Made GestureThe Kitchen, New YorkGroup
2009Einarson, Rhodes, WhitneyTeam Gallery, New YorkGroup
2009The Practice of Joy Before Death Fruit & Flower Deli, New YorkGroup
2008White YearACME and Sister, Los AngelesSolo
2008New Images - Unisex New Images - UnisexKevin Bruk Gallery, MiamiGroup
2008Artists of the GalleryOffice Baroque Gallery, AntwerpGroup
2008The Art of the RealVanmoerkerke Art Collection, OostendeGroup
2008Inaugural Group ShowCottage Home, Los AngelesGroup
2008Defining a Moment: 25 New York Artists House of Campari, New YorkGroup
2008Cube PasserbyGavin Brown’s Enterprise, New YorkGroup
2008Bring me Back a T ShirtV&A, New YorkGroup
2007Davis RhodesGallery Casey Kaplan, New YorkSolo
2007Jeremy Chance & Tamar Halpern & Davis RhodesOffice Baroque Gallery, AntwerpGroup
2007Tug BoatAcme @ Domestic, Los AngelesGroup
2007Gimme A Little SignSister, Los AngelesGroup
2007MFA Thesis ExhibitionColumbia University School of the Arts, New YorkGroup
2007First Look IIHudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, New YorkGroup