MARK DAVIS is an American sculptor who took his artistic inspiration from Alexander Calder. Davis' highly imaginative, unique and colorful mobiles are graceful abstract "balancing acts" that can be ceiling or wall mounted as well as placed on a table or pedestal. Davis' work is playful and joyful and ever changing. He welcomes residential, public and private commissions.
"I have been creating three-dimensional objects ever since I can remember. It is, perhaps, my way of bringing into the world the feelings that I keep on the inside. To me, there is a wondrous joy that comes from creating something that comes from inside and bringing it out into the world. And metal will probably be in the world for many years after I'm gone."
Born in New Haven, CT and educated at Goddard College in Vermont, Mark Davis began making jewelry in his teens. Davis' dexterous metalwork is entirely self-taught. His initial forays into mobiles utilized the metals of his first art: sterling silver, gold plating, and brass. The variety of styles and materials that Davis uses to build his mobiles has expanded dramatically over the years to create a complex and compelling body of work. In addition to moderate scale pieces of movement, color and grace, Davis has also been involved with large scale public and private commission pieces.
"For the last 10 years or so I have been creating these moving sculptures. In my early teens I was very influenced by Alexander Calder, and find that now I am very involved in the sculptural object, and as all of the pieces are jointed and move, I call them "mobiles".
My materials are simple. I use sheet metals of different weight and material, steel being the heaviest, then brass, and aluminum being the lightest. Flat sheet is formed in the traditional methods of silversmithing, using different hammers and forming tools. The balancing is done by intuition at first, and then as the piece progresses, I am able to fine-tune the balance so that the end result comes as close as possible to the vision I began with. At times I long to see forms floating in space, relating to the earth but not anchored. Each one of a kind piece becomes its own very personal universe, each with its own laws.
Through abstract shapes, I play with the ideas
of space and relationships. I suppose my ideas come from organic
life, the human form and the external landscape, although to me
these things only reflect an internal landscape and dialogue within
myself. The work is playful, joyful, and always changing, which
is the way I see and experience life in all its complexities."
1954 Born May 1, 1954, New Haven, CT, USA
1968 Discovered the work of Alexander Calder and began making mobiles and jewelry
1972 Attended Goddard College, Plainfield, VT, USA
1978 Attended a 3 week course where he learned all the basic metal hollowware techniques, Worcester, MA, USA
1980 Solo exhibition at Bloomingdales of sculptural jewelry and masks in sterling silver and brass, Chestnut Hill, MA, USA
1982-1985 Sculptural jewelry shows at Artwear, Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s and Henri Bendel, New York, NY, USA
1985 Articles appeared in Vogue Magazine, New York Magazine and others
1986 Began a wholesale business in jewelry and joined the showroom on Fifth Avenue, New York, NY, USA
1988-1995 Commissioned to do window display mobiles for Tiffany's, New York, NY, USA
1991-1992 Solo exhibitions, Judith N. Wolov Gallery, Design Center, Boston, MA, USA
1993-1996 Created small and medium size mobiles for the LS Collection on Madison Avenue and Soho, New York, NY, USA
1994 Liberty Mutual Life Insurance Company commissions a 2-story hanging mobile for its corporate lobby
2004-2007 Exhibitions at Galleria Silecchia, Sarasota, FL, USA
SELECTED PUBLIC AND PRIVATE COLLECTIONS
Liberty Mutual Corporation
Rose Museum, Brandeis University
Julie Andrews and Blake Edwards
Mark Davis has created many public and private commissions, the
largest installation being in Libertyville, IL. This sculpture
is 12" high, 18" across and 9" deep.
Excerpt From ArtsMedia Magazine 2003
"..'Is it okay to touch them?'...Davis' metal sculptures come toward you in various directions, shapes and colors, all begging to be tinkered with. You will also ask this because his sculptures appear so fragile that you wouldn't want to set anything off balance. But mainly, you will ask this because, hey, Davis' sculptures look fun.
After spending years as a professional jeweler, Davis moved on to try his hand at sculpture. And he has made a transition that is as graceful and sleek as the sculptures themselves. It is important to know that he started as a jeweler because it means he had many years to practice soldering steel and bending tiny bits of metal around minute slivers of wire, aluminum, gold, granite and more.
It is important to know that he started off as a jeweler so that when you look at his work and think, 'How did he do that?' you will already know that he had years of practice.
Davis' work characterizes a full range of forms. Some are representational, portraying trees or a vase of wiry, green flowers. Other forms are more suggestive…with the coy elegance of a ballerina, perhaps leaning back on one foot and arching her back.
The graceful buoyancy that characterizes these sculptures forces us to put aside our previous ideas about metal, steel and aluminum. That these materials are heavy, chunky, difficult to work with and cumbersome to carry has no bearing on what Davis is capable of doing. As in nearly all his pieces, slivers of steel look as light as feathers. And they are shaped that way, too. They are at once fragile and durable, bold and subtle. Steel wires also function as fine black wisps; sometimes circular, sometimes straight, sometimes bending in jovial curlicues, but always holding all the elements together in unity. They're genuinely boldly balanced.
The very essence of Davis' work is a playful elegance
that moves as easily as the autumn wind.
Excerpt From the Boston Phoenix, November 29, 2001
"T.S. Eliot didn't have Mark Davis in mind when he wrote Four Quartets, but I suspect he would have appreciated the work that Eliot's four poems deal with time and space, with our movement through space in time, with the interception of time by eternity, time as chronos and time as kairos. Unlike most art, which appears frozen in time (though it moves perpetually in its stillness), Mark Davis' mobiles are perpetually on the brink of motion; just a touch sets them going.
Mark Davis' creations are like what Eliot says
old men should be: '...explorers, always moving, into another intensity,
for a further union, a deeper communion, with no end and, seemingly,
no beginning.' They don't stand on their bases; they grow out of
them, organically. Some, Romanesque-like, hurl mass into space;
some take the Gothic approach and use space to define mass. With
their warm, primary colors and curvilinear forms, his sculpture
looks like Paul Klee or Joan Miró creatures come to three-dimensional
life...and could be illustrations of the latest innovations in superstring
theory, mystic and by no means impossible unions of spheres of existence.
There seems no end to Davis' inventiveness; using wood, brass, steel,
aluminum, and acrylic and lacquer colors, he improvises with Bach-like
virtuosity, and his work resonates with the body's harmonic overtones..
'you are the music while the music lasts'...maybe the universe's
Excerpts From ArtsMedia Magazine 2001
"...Admittedly influenced by modern masters Matisse, Miro and Calder, Mark Davis refines the genre of his human scale kinetic sculptures by beautifully incorporating the supportive structure into the aesthetics of the total form. This is not always an easy feat, when form and function are literally in a careful balance.
Much of the newest works explores richly patinated and variegated airbrushed metal surfaces that enhance the appearance and volume of his planar forms. Linear wire elements have widened to become narrow hands that support and suspend their floating complements. In 'Primitive Offerings, the base gracefully soars upward through the central axis of the form to delicately support the pivotal cross-member that suspends the smaller 'offerings'. In 'Aviary', curved black bands form a non-mobile graceful cage that protects and contains the delicate gold mobile elements within. 'Simple Gifts', a strong composite of black curvilinear forms gracefully projects brightly colored, delicately balanced abstract forms into space.
These newest sculptures depict Davis' increasing interest in an internal dialogue, a concept which sets him further apart from other artists working in this kinetic style. The work is joyful, elegant and beautifully crafted, creating a visual feast for the eyes."
Contact Galleria Silecchia for more information on the works of Mark Davis.
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