Karon Davis at the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art

Starless Midnight: Barby Asante, Louis Cameron, Season Butler, Karon Davis, Charles Gaines, Micol Hebron, Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle, Ashley Holmes and Cauleen Smith. Curated by Edgar Arceneaux & Laurence Sillars

In the impromptu acceptance speech Dr Martin Luther King gave for his honorary degree from Newcastle University he spoke of three urgent problems throughout the world: ‘the problem of racism, the problem of poverty and the problem of war.’ Despite the advancements of civil rights since this speech, his words still ring true today and are set against a backdrop of political populism, post-truth and so-called ‘fake news’.

This major group exhibition, presented within BALTIC’s Level 3 gallery, brings together leading international artists whose work, in very different ways, each sheds light upon this contemporary condition within a framework of the important legacies of Dr. King. Some new work has also been commissioned especially for the exhibition.

Co-curated by leading artist Edgar Arceneaux, whose installation Until, Until Until…2016 is simultaneously presented on Level 2, the exhibition will include painting, drawing, video, sculpture and installation. Participating artists include Barby Asante, Louis Cameron, Season Butler, Karon Davis, Charles Gaines, Micol Hebron, Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle, Ashley Holmes and Cauleen Smith.

Part of Freedom City 2017 | Freedom City 2017 is a city-wide programme celebrating the 50th anniversary of Dr Martin Luther King being awarded an honorary degree by Newcastle University. Dr Martin Luther King was one of the world’s greatest civil rights leaders, using the power of words and acts of non-violent protest to achieve seemingly impossible goals. His campaigns against racial inequality, poverty and war are renowned and his accomplishments studied worldwide.

http://baltic.art/whats-on/starless-midnight

Nicotine , 2015

Nicotine, 2015

Detail , Nicotine,  2015

Detail, Nicotine, 2015

Installation, Starless Midnight 

Installation, Starless Midnight 

Mary , 2016

Mary, 2016

Detail,  Mary , 2016

Detail, Mary, 2016

Waiting Room , 2017

Waiting Room, 2017

Waiting Room , 2017

Waiting Room, 2017

Karon Davis in LA Weekly. Interview by Matt Stromberg.

Karon Davis Mourned the Loss of Her Husband, Artist Noah Davis, By Turning Grief Into Art

Karon Davis says she would have made the piece  Cry, Baby  even larger to reflect the depths of grief.

Karon Davis says she would have made the piece Cry, Baby even larger to reflect the depths of grief.

BY MATT STROMBERG

“If I could have made it 50 stories high to explain how painful this has been, I would have done that,” artist Karon Davis says. “It's like no tissue box is big enough to dry my tears, our tears.”


She’s referring to Cry, Baby, a nine-foot-tall plaster-and-wood sculpture of a Kleenex box that is included in her solo show, "Pain Management," currently on view at Wilding Cran Gallery. Dealing with themes of grief, mourning and resilience, the exhibition is an elegiac response to the loss of Davis’ husband, the artist Noah Davis, who succumbed to a rare form of cancer last summer.

The Davises are also known for founding the Underground Museum, a non-profit arts space in the central-L.A. neighborhood of Arlington Heights, just north of the 10 freeway. Through various collaborations — including a multi-year partnership with MOCA  — the space became the nexus of activity for many in the African American creative community, providing a space to display works and even address recent racial turmoil by offering a forum for Black Lives Matter. Noah also shared the space with his brother, Kahlil Joseph, a filmmaker who created works for artists like Flying Lotus, and who was recently nominated for an Emmy for directing a part of Beyonce's visual-album,  "Lemonade."

Alongside the oversized tissue box, Davis has created an array of life-size sculptural figures that relate to the years spent dealing with her husband’s illness. Made by wrapping strips of plaster-dipped cloth around live models, they are uncannily life-like, despite their bone-white color. Three nurse figures in scrubs, each personifying a different drug, stand in for all the individuals who helped them over the years.

“The first piece I created was Nicotine Nurse, and actually Noah worked on that with me,” Davis says. “We had talked about this series of nurses, and I promised him I'd finish it.” 

The veteran nurse rests on bench, taking a break between shifts with a cup of coffee and a cigarette. A scarecrow nurse named for the chemo drug Ifosfamide stands watch over rows of tissues that sprout up from a plot of earth like crops of sadness. Near the gallery’s entrance an Angel nurse representing Morphine kneels. Her flowing wings are made from shredded medical bills, a physical manifestation of the financial burden so many sick Americans struggle with.

Continue reading: http://www.laweekly.com/arts/karon-davis-mourned-the-loss-of-her-husband-artist-noah-davis-by-turning-grief-into-art-7427255