Lynn Davis: Architecture

11 November 2000 - 13 January 2001

Created at the dawn of the twenty-first century, Lynn Davis's recent images compose a history of the future as envisioned by the age of modernism. The subjects of the photographs comprise wonders of twentieth century technology and engineering - ranging from the historical Hoover Dam in Nevada to the science-fiction-like Very Large Array in New Mexico - along with masterful examples of modern architecture and urbanism such as the Jonas Salk Institute designed by Louis Kahn, and the Penzoil Plaza conceived by Philip Johnson. A specific aspect of the project is the exploration of the intricate ties between science and myth as exemplified in pictures of the Epcot Center in Disneyland and of the Géode in Paris's Parc de la Villette.

Lynn Davis (American, born 1944) received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1970. She then trained with Berenice Abbott in New York. Davis had her first exhibition in 1979 at the International Center of Photography (New York) alongside her close friend Robert Mapplethorpe. Her work underwent a dramatic shift after a trip to Greenland in 1986. With the resulting Ice series, majestic studies of Greenland's icebergs, Davis defined a style characterized by a combination of the minimal and the monumental. At the same time, Davis inscribed her work in the grand tradition of nineteenth century landscape photography. Driven by an almost bulimic desire to record the natural and architectural monuments of the world, Davis has documented the pyramids of Egypt, the ancient architectural ruins of Burma, Cambodia, Thailand, India, Italy, and of the Middle East (Israel, Syria, Jordan, Turkey and Yemen), as well as mythical natural wonders, including the Grand Geyser in Yellowstone and Wave Rock in Australia. Davis's exploration of the African continent (including Mali, Ethiopia, Sudan, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Ghana, Tanzania, and a second look at Egypt) resulted in the solo show Africa held at the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson in 1999. Selections of the African images appeared the same year in Wonders of the African World by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. 1999 also saw the publication of Davis's second monograph, the classic Monument, released by Arena Editions.

Davis's photographs have been exhibited internationally and collected widely. Her work appears in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, and the J. Paul Getty Museum which held an exhibition of Davis's prints in 1999. Davis has received several commissions from public and private institutions such as the Lannan Foundation - to work on an American project -, the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, and the Nature Conservancy - to produce a photographic survey of the High Plateau of Utah. Davis lives and works in New York.