New York

Ron Davis

Blum/Helman Gallery

The paintings of Ron Davis are flagrant. If you don’t like flagrancy for flagrancy’s sake, you are left with two options: cast a cold eye on them (and leave it at that) or argue them into line with the work of Stella and others (that is, the canon). The first option is not in very good faith; it is the way of prudes. The second option is in such good faith as to be bad faith; it is the way of sophists. I’m somewhere in-between: embarrassed for liking them, wondering why I do.

Up until 1973 or so, Davis made irregularly shaped paintings with polyester resin and fiberglass. As most critics had it, Davis, like others, used that odd outer geometry to insist upon the paintings as objects. Unlike others, however, he did not infer the inner geometry from the outer; the “inside” of the paintings did not carry through the object-status of the “outside.” Often quite the contrary: the inner geometry

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