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Gene Davis

Born 1920, Washington DC, USA.  Died 1985

Gene Davis was a self -taught artist who had begun as a journalist. He was taken up by Clement Greenberg and became associated with New York minimalists such as Ellsworth Kelly and Frank Stella.

After experimenting in the gestural manner of Pollock and de Kooning, according to Gerald Nordland (catalogue introduction to Davis's retrospective held at the San Francisco Museum of Art in 1968), in 1958 he 'found his format and established a new convention in abstract painting ... (the stripe) became his unit of thinking', his subject matter, the way that an artist might use the nude or landscape. His use of the hard-edged stripe as a vehicle for explorations into the dynamics of colour and interval, had a direct influence on young British artists like Bridget Riley, Sarah Kent and Peter Joseph.

Gene Davis went on to organise and create vast paintings or installations such as Franklin's Footpath in 1972 in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Niagara, 'the largest painting in the world' (43,680 sq ft) in a parking lot at Artpark, Lewiston, New York, in 1979.

Untitled 1965 1
Untitled 1965 2