The Day the Earth Stood Still
College of the Canyons Art Gallery, Santa Clarita, California, 2015
The exhibition examines a portion of the current body of work, “The Day The Earth Stood Still (TDTESS).” My artworks take an innovative approach to the reexamination of history incorporating images into the work that are immediately recognizable as a specific moment in time. They are events that have occurred during my lifetime. They span the spectrum of human experience and resonate with particular clarity. They are as diverse as the Able and Baker Bikini Atoll atomic blasts, Sputnik, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the assassinations of JFK, RFK and MLK, the First Moon Landing, the fall of Saigon and the fall of the Berlin Wall, 9/11, the Iraq War and the Obama election. Witnessed first hand and through the media, these events affirm our vision of who we are as Americans and members of humanity. With time, our perception of these images, our memories and the historical record merge and morph with both the clarity of a flashback and the contradiction of witness testimony, generational ambiguity and historical revisionism. These images are known as “imagos,” a psychological term for an unconscious, idealized mental image.
No Place To Hide
El Camino Art Gallery, Torrance, California, 2014
"This exhibition provides a glimpse at Michael Davis' stunning creative output, in a series of recontextualized older works and new installations. No Place to Hide includes sculptural and two-dimensional works that range from quizzical to didactic and from philosophic to apocalyptic. All bear the earmarks of precision, rigorous artistic scrutiny and elegance that typify the work of Michael Davis." Susannah Meiers, Curator
Grand Central Art Gallery, Santa Ana, California, 2006
Selections from the Exhibition and Catalog, "Progress 1970 and 2005"
The exhibition included time-lapse videos from each trip, installations, photography and individual artworks.
"For over forty years my studio practice has explored the relationship between formal aesthetics and culture. In 1970, I received a grant from California State University at Fullerton to create an artwork entitled Progress, along with fellow student/artist Stephen Moore. Our proposal was to create a traveling artwork from LA to NYC. The process encompassed time-lapse film, radio recordings from coast to coast, black & white and color photography and a conceptual mail artwork to mark our progress as we crossed the country. We discovered a diverse and rich cultural aesthetic, from outsider roadside attractions to sophisticated public artworks. We interviewed people as we encountered them along the way adding their story to our project. In NYC we went to the studios of Donald Judd and Walter De Maria who spoke to us about the difficulties of working in New York City. We interviewed Virginia Dwan, Leo Castelli, Ivan Carp and Henry Geldzahler, who proudly showed us the first modern artwork ever installed in the Metropolitan Museum, Roy Lichtenstein’s, F-111, a huge painting that occupied one entire wall depicting an American fighter plane pictured with iconic and appropriated images–a powerful artwork of its time and a pivotal influence my work. In 2005, Stephen and I repeated the trip duplicating our route and documentation. In 1970 the World Trade Center was under construction. In 2005 it was gone.