Warren Davis

A Clean Well Lighted Place Austin

Warren Davis’s paintings, handsome, successful, obedient to the confirmed surface vocabulary of color field, range remarkably from painting to painting, each a distinct articulation of precepts and means. Multiple thin absorbed layers give a matte dry finish, with occasional more succulent touches. In one painting a froth of sprayed color pulverizes incipient centrifugal pat-terns to oscillate within the planar expanse. In others, inflections strain in a gently splintered give and take of mutations, as hints of compositional segregation converge through tonal and color diffusions. Each painting coalesces finally under a predominant color and quality of saturation (exceptionally delicate lavenders, richer turquoises and oranges) and under the deluge of ingredients, accumulations in near-uniform dispersal over impenetrable surfaces of seemingly unlimited extendibility. The essential synthesis Davis achieves comes, in part, through careful sifting of this surfeit and its confinement within a boundary of suitable proportion. The rigidity of format control allows particles to roam the canvas with no real dissipation of energy: easy small talk in agreeable and ample surroundings,. continual murmurs with the slightest of alterations in pitch and volume.

The paintings shift, in their idiomatic way, away from the illusionistic acknowledgement of space and into the direct visual experience of it, metaphorically from the distant view, all-encompassing, to the immediacy of flat turf underfoot, seeing the minutiae of its variegated texture, color, shadows, movement and pause, scatters of similarities in territories of plenty. The totality of this visual field, its density and continuity, denies drawing its customary specifics of edging and separating, but allows it, as a controlled gesture, to fluctuate the color and value and so to generate and arrest the movement. Davis’s surfaces are able to ease the viewer along, each painting at its own rate, through the interest demanded of its precariously differentiated areas.

Martha Utterback