Ronald Davis (American, b.1937) is a painter famed for his use of Geometric Abstraction, Abstract Illusionism, shaped canvas painting, and 3D computer graphics in his work. He was born in Santa Monica, CA, and was raised in Cheyenne, WY. He studied at the University of Wyoming from 1955 to 1956.

From 1956 to 1959, Davis worked as a sheet metal mechanic. It was in 1969 that he developed an interest in painting. He enrolled in the San Francisco Art Institute in 1960, where he studied painting. At the time, the prevailing movement was Abstract Expressionism, which has since influenced many of his works. The artist graduated from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1964. He then moved to Los Angeles, CA, that same year. Davis had his first solo exhibition at the Nicholas Wilder Gallery in Los Angeles during the following year. He continued to live and work in Los Angeles until 1971. In 1972, he relocated to Malibu, CA, where he lived until 1990. In 1991, he moved to Arroyo Hondo, NM.

In 1963, Davis started to paint in a distinct geometric, hard-edged style. In 1972, he ventured into sound sculpture and electronic music composition. He returned to using acrylic paints in 1973 and went on to paint the Floater Series, the Music Series, the Object Paintings, the Flatland Series, the Freeway and Freeline Series, and the Spiral Series. In 1988, he began to use Macintosh’s 3D rendering and animation programs to design paintings, which he used extensively for some time. In 1995, he returned to painting using a wax medium on wood, which he named the Wax Series.

Davis has numerous exhibitions to his name, including both solo shows and group exhibitions. His work has been exhibited in galleries, such as the Laguna Art Museum in Laguna Beach, CA, and the New Orleans Museum of Modern Art in City Park, NO. Some of his artwork continues to be displayed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, NY, and the Tate Gallery in London, England. He continues to reside on his ranch in Arroyo Hondo, NM.

Timeline

1937
Born in Santa Monica, CA
1955–1956
Studied at University of Wyoming
1962
Yale – Norfolk Summer School of Music and Art, Grantee
1960–1964
Studied Painting at San Francisco Art Institute
1964
First Place Award at Printing and Drawing Annual in Richmond, CA; the show was juried by Tony De Lapp
1968
National Endowment for the Arts, Grantee
Currently lives and works in Taos, NM

Exhibitions

2009
Dennis Hopper Curates - Larry Bell, Ron Cooper, Ronald Davis, Ken Price, & Robert Dean Stockwell, Harwood Museum of Art, Taos, New Mexico
California Calling - Works from Santa Barbara Collections, 1948-2008, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, CA
2008
Paintings, 1966-2007, New Gallery - Tom Andriola, Houston, Texas (solo)
Ronald Davis: President's Rooms, 2008, Eight Modern, Santa Fe, NM (solo)
2007
Ronald Davis: Five Decades: Past and Present Work, 1968 – 2007, Electric Works, San Francisco, CA (solo)
Breaking the Mold: Selections from the Washington Gallery of Modern Art, 1961–1968, Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Oklahoma City, OK
2006
Driven to Abstraction: Southern California and the Non-Objective World, 1950-1980, Riverside Art Museum, CA
Pixel Dust Paintings, 2005, New Gallery - Tom Andriola, Houston, TX (solo)
Music Series: 1983-1985, Harwood Museum of Art, Taos, NM (solo)
2005
Wilder, a tribute to the Nicholas Wilder Gallery, Franklin Parrasch Gallery and Joan T. Washburn Gallery, New York, NY
Laguna's Hidden Treasures: Art from Private Collections, Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach, CA
"Wilder", a tribute to the Nicholas Wilder Gallery, Franklin Parrasch Gallery and Joan T. Washburn Gallery, New York, NY
2004
The Eclectic Eye, Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation, Los Angeles, New Orleans Museum of Art, City Park, New Orleans, LA
2002
Forty Years of Abstraction: 1962-2002 – Major 40-painting career survey, Butler Institute Museum of American Art, Youngstown, OH (solo)
Nushapes, Hinges, Diamonds; Digital Painting Series, 2001, Victoria Meyhren Gallery, Denver University, Denver, CO (solo)
2001
Celebrating Modern Art: The Anderson Collection, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA
2000
The Forty-Fifth Biennial: The Corcoran Collects, 1907-1999, Corcoran Gallery of Modern Art, Washington, D.C.
"Celebrating Modern Art: The Anderson Collection", The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA
1999
Passion and Patronage, Painting in Los Angeles and New York, Mills College Art Museum, Oakland, CA
1995
Seven Painters, Nicholas Alexander Gallery, New York, NY
1994
ouis Catusco and the Modernists, TAA Stables Gallery, Taos, NM
1991
New Mexico Sculpture, Stables Gallery, Taos, NM
1988
Small Works Invitational, Merging One Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
Blue Chip Prints, Schwartz/Cierlak Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
1987
New Acquisitions, John Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Abstract Painting, Asher/Faure, Los Angeles, CA
ummer, Scott Hanson Gallery, New York City, NY
1985
Black And White Drawings from the David Nelis Collection, Fine Arts Gallery, California State University, Los Angeles, CA
Paperworks From Tyler Graphics, The William Benton Museum of Art, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT
1984
Modern Sculpture from the Guggenheim, Allentown Art Museum, Allentown, PA
Prints from Tyler Graphics, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN
Gemini, G. E. L.: Art and Collaboration, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
1983
Art of the 20th Century, San Francisco, CA
1982
Miró in America, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX
Theatrical Abstraction, Jan Baum Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
The Americans: The Collage, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, TX
1981
Southern California Artists: 1940-1980, Laguna Beach Museum of Art, Laguna Beach, CA
Los Angeles Prints, 1883 – 1980. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA
Art in Los Angeles – Seventeen Artists in the Sixties. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA
1980
Oakland Museum, Oakland, CA
1979
American Painting of the 1970’s, Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo, NY
Art Off the Picture Press: Tyler Graphics, Ltd., The Emily Lowe Gallery, Hofstra University, Hampstead, NY
Reality of Illusion, Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO
1978
California: 3 X 8 Twice, Honolulu Academy of Arts, Honolulu, HI
Berggruen at Art Center, Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA
Four Contemporary Painters, The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
1977
Private Images: Photographs by Painters, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA
Collectors, Collecting, Collections of American Abstract Art Since 1945, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA
American Abstract Art Since 1945, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City, NY
Photographs by Southern California Painters and Sculptors, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA
Painting and Sculpture, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA
Biennial of Graphic Art, Museum of Modern Art, Ljubljana, Yugoslavia
1976
30 Years of American Printmaking, The Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY
1975
Zeichnumgen 3, U. S. A., Stradtisches Museum, Leverkkusen, Germany
Current Concerns – Part I, Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA
Color, an Exhibition in Collaboration with the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Museo de Arte Moderno, Bogota, Columbia
34th Biennial of Contemporary American Painting, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Collectors Choice, Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA
1974
15 Abstract Artists from Los Angeles, The Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA
Contemporary Painting and Sculpture 1974, University of Illinois, Krannert Art Museum, Champaign, IL
Marlborough Gallery, Inc., New York City, NY
Seventy-first American Exhibition, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Works on Paper, Nicholas Wilder Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
New Acquisitions/Prints, John Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Castelli at Berggruen, John Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Nicholas Wilder, The University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV
1973
The State of California Painting, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth, New Zealand
Twenty-five Years of American Painting, 1948 – 1973, Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, IA
Art in Space: Some Turning Points, The Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, MI
Works on Paper, John Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco, CA
1972
International Art Fair, Basel, Switzerland
Dealer’s Choice, La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art, La Jolla, CA
Color-Field Painting, John Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco, CA
U. S. A. West Coast, Kunstverein in Hamberg, Hamberg, Germany
Paintings: New Options, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN
Masters of the Sixties, The Edmonton Art Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
U. S. A., XXXVI International Biennial Exhibition of Art, Venice, Italy
1971
Technics and Creativity, Gemini G. E. L., Museum of Modern Art, New York City, NY
The 73rd Western Annual, Denver Art Museum. Denver, CO
Six Painters, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY
1969
31st Biennial Exhibition of Contemporary American Painting, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Plastics: New Art, Institute of Contempory Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
1968
1967 Annual Exhibition of Contemporary Paintings, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City, NY
Los Angeles Six, Vancouver Art Museum, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
4 Documenta International, Ausstellung, Kasel, Germany
1967
A New Aesthetic, Washington Gallery of Modern Art, Washington, D.C.
Drawing Power, Nicholas Wilder Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Stanford Museum, Palo Alto, CA
1966
New Modes in California Painting and Sculpture, La Jolla Museum of Art, La Jolla, CA
Some Continuing Directions, The Pavillion Gallery, Balboa, CA
1965
La Jolla Museum of Art, La Jolla, CA
12th Contemporary American Painting and Sculpture Exhibition, Krannert Art Museum, Champaigne, IL
New Directions in California Art, Unitarian Community Church, Santa Monica, CA
Critic’s Choice, Long Beach Museum of Art, Long Beach, CA
1964
Valentine Day Show, New Mission Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Arts of San Francisco, San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, CA
Summer Invitational, Laynon Gallery, Palo Alto, CA
Painting-Drawing ’64 Annual, Richmond Art Center, Richmond, CA
1962
Art Exhibition and Concert at Yale University Summer School of Music and Art, Yale/Norfolk Campus, Norfolk, CT
1961
San Francisco Arts Festival, San Francisco, CA

Public Collections

The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO
Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY
Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, D.C.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA
Museum of Contempory Art, Los Angeles, CA
The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA
The Tate Gallery, London, UK
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY