A rural upbringing in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range plays an important role in my art. I was born in 1950 in central California and was raised on a ranch. Being in the midst of nature, observing plant growth at close range or experiencing awe in the glacially carved canyons of the High Sierra have been compelling influences. My attraction to the process of making sculpture, and the love of using tools and materials are rooted in that working ranch environment.
In 1968 I left for the East Coast and enrolled at the Rhode Island School of Design. In both drawing and sculpture, I concentrated on the human figure and soon began carving marble. I graduated with a B.F.A. in 1972 and then spent the next year studying in Italy. My travels throughout Italy have had a profound impact on my work. Studying ancient architecture and figurative sculpture fostered my respect for principles of structure. I was impressed with the Roman sites, altered by the forces of decay, gravity and erosion and yet still emanating strength and order. The way these structures were reshaped by nature and even altered by the destructive hand of man is intriguing to me.
I return to Italy frequently to maintain connected there and to work in the stone carving studios of Carrara. I also continue to be drawn back to explore the high country of the Sierra and these excursions serve as a parallel source of inspiration. My sculptural endeavors reflect this ebb and flow between the two hemispheres. Some works are about nature - the shapes are fluid and organic; other works are architectonic, geometric and based on man's constructions. Often my sculptures join and juxtapose the differing forms and seek a harmonious balance. My primary ongoing objective is to interlace these two hemispheres and celebrate the underlying principles that I view as a great common bond throughout.
Donald Davis, January 20, 2005
Santa Barbara, California
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