Ken Davies American, b. 1925

Overview

Ken Davis is an accomplished trompe-l'oeil painter whose works can be found in a number of notable museums, corporate collections, and public institutions. A recipient of the prestigious Louis Comfort Tiffany Fellowship award, Davies describes himself as an "abstract realist". He is in fact a true master of the trompe l'oeil school of painting, a genre of still life that aims to deceive the viewer into mistaking painted objects for reality. His paintings reveal the influence of such 19th century American master trompe l'oeil painters as John F. Peto and William M. Harnett. Similar works by Otis Kaye appeared on the art scene several decades later. Such pictures resemble photographs in their precision and accuracy noted down to the minutest of details. The process employed by these artists such as Ken Davis is extremely labor-intensive and in Davis's particular case achieved through the use of sable brushes. The results are meticulously conceived compositions which employ what Davis refers to as "props" that are in reality objects that he has found in antique shops. Davis then arranges these old discoveries with an unerring eye as to their contrasting relationships to one another in terms of color, size, texture, and value. Such paintings of painstaking precision often require upwards of 75-100 hours to complete. Nevertheless Davis is no blind follower of realism. To achieve his own particular artistic vision Davis is willing to contrive invented spaces as well as to alter the size, color, and texture of the objects set before him. The result is uniquely his own invention that brings pleasure and awe to the viewer.

Exhibitions

Hewitt Gallery, New York City, 1951 (solo)

Grand Central Gallery, New Canaan, CT, 1965 (solo)

Silvermine Guild, New Canaan, CT, 1965 (solo)

Banfer Gallery, New York City, 1969 (solo)

25 Year Retrospective, New Britain Museum, New Britain, CT, 1971 (solo)

Hirschl and Adler Galleries, New York City, 1975 (solo), 1978 (solo), 1986 (solo)

Retrospective, Hirschl and Adler Galleries, New York City, 1978 (solo)

Fitchberg Museum, Fitchberg, MA, 1980 (solo)

Whistler's Daughter Gallery, Basking Ridge, NJ, 1982 (solo)

35 Years, A New Bedford Homecoming, New Bedford Whaling Museum, New Bedford, MA, 1983

Tiasquam Gallery, Martha's Vineyard, MA, 1987

Greene Art Gallery, Guildford, CT , 1989 (solo), 1992 (solo)

Tiasquam Gallery, Martha's Vineyard, MA, 1988 (solo)

Artist of the Year: Fairfield Festival of the Arts, Fairfield, CT, 1990 (solo)

Fairfield University, Fairfield, CT., 1990 (solo)

Cavalier Galleries, Greenwich, CT, 1999 (solo), 2002 (solo), 2005 (solo)

Museums, Corporate Collections, and Public Collections

American Express

Asheville Museum of Art

Austin Nichols Distilling Co.

Berkshire Museum

Brandywine River Museum

Detroit Institute of Arts

Figge Art Museum, Davenport, Iowa

General Mills

Guilford College Art Gallery, North Carolina

International Harvester, Inc.

Manoogian Collection

Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts

New Bedford Whaling Museum

New Britain Museum of American Art

Smithsonian Institute

Springfield Museum of Fine Arts

Wadsworth Athenaeum

White House Historical Association

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