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PRINT April 1967

Ronald Davis: Surface and Illusion

RON DAVIS IS A YOUNG CALIFORNIA ARTIST whose new paintings, recently shown at the Tibor de Nagy Gallery in New York, are among the most significant produced anywhere during the past few years, and place him, along with Stella and Bannard, at the forefront of his generation. In at least two respects Davis’s work is characteristically Californian: it makes impressive use of new materials—specifically, plastic backed with fiberglass—and it exploits an untrammeled illusionism. But these previously had yielded nothing more than extraordinarily attractive objects, such as Larry Bell’s coated glass boxes, or ravishing, ostensibly pictorial effects, as in Robert Irwin’s recent work. (In the first instance illusion is rendered literal, while in the second it dissolves literalness entirely.) Whereas Davis’s new work achieves an unequivocal identity as painting. That this is so is a matter of

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