Born in Washington, D.C., Gene Davis attended local schools and later worked as a sportswriter and White House correspondent before pursuing a career in art. Although never formally trained, Davis educated himself through assiduous visits to New York's museums and galleries as well as to Washington's art institutions, especially the Phillips Collection.

Davis considered his nonacademic background a blessing that freed him from the limitations of a traditional art school orientation. His early paintings and drawings—though they show the influence of such artists as the Swiss painter Paul Klee and the American abstractionist Arshile Gorky—display a distinct improvisational quality. This same preference for spontaneity characterizes Davis's selection of color in his later stripe paintings. Despite their calculated appearance, Davis's stripe works were not based on conscious use of theories or formulas. Davis often compared himself to a jazz musician who plays by ear, describing his approach to painting as 'playing by eye.' (Jacquelyn D. Serwer Gene Davis: A Memorial Exhibition (Washington, D.C.: National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 1987)

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Brad Barry said...

I really like the idea of "playing by eye."

I've been enjoying Josef Albers lately:

K. said...

I'm keen on Albers, especially his unexpected palettes. I like being surprised by him more and more.

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