Karin Davie “To Boldly Go Where No Man’s Gone Before”

Van Doren Waxter

poster for Karin Davie “To Boldly Go Where No Man’s Gone Before”

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CHART and Van Doren Waxter present Karin Davie: “To Boldly Go Where No Man’s Gone Before”, a two-venue presentation of fourteen new paintings at 74 Franklin Street and 23 East 73rd Street. Opening Friday, May 12th, and on view through June 30th, the concurrent exhibitions mark the largest presentation of work by Davie in New York City. This will be Davie’s second solo exhibition with CHART, following her successful debut with the gallery in 2021.

The title of the exhibition, “To Boldly Go Where No Man’s Gone Before”, references Star Trek’s original opening monologue, serving as wry commentary on the artist’s plight and quest for originality, transformation, and to express something beyond ourselves, as well as a tongue-in-cheek allusion to the seemingly impossible but not altogether implausible relationship between Feminism and abstraction. Allusions to travel—being “beamed up” to another place—and microscopic or telescopic investigation serve as metaphors for the nature of art making and the journey both artist and viewer take when ascribing meaning to abstraction.

Well known for her gestural anthropomorphic “stripe” paintings that combine the ethos of 1950s Abstract Expressionism with optical styles rooted in the 1960s, Davie’s immersive abstractions explore identity, process, movement, and repetition, transforming the legacy of Modernism to capture the dynamics of contemporary life. A central hallmark of her works are long unbroken gestural brushstrokes that create undulating accretive fields of color. Davie humorously reimagines concepts of 60’s Hard-edge painting, Minimalism, and Process Art in series like “Beam Me Up” and “Small but Deadly (Parasite Painting)” as gradations form from imbricated and syncopated patterns that embody emotion, movement, and metabolic processes.

For Davie, painting is a conceptual and intuitive process of weaving interior and exterior worlds to create a dynamic field of exchange between representation and abstraction. Her works depart from pictorial convention with the use of uniquely-shaped canvases and multi-panel formats that lend sculptural features and formal intrusions to the compositions. As Davie explains, “The perceived stability and regularity of the square or rectangle structure is undermined. The wavy painted image around the edge accommodates this structural abnormality.”

In these recent canvases, all completed over the past two years, Davie continues to explore the formal language of painting, especially the tension between the corporeal and the metaphysical, as she ultimately seeks to expose the complexity of the self and body. Davie’s paintings are at once evocative images with psychedelic overtones and autobiographical undertones that conjure irrepressible energies, anthropomorphic identities, and biological processes—recurring themes that run through all of her work.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue featuring an essay by Raphael Rubinstein.



from May 12, 2023 to June 30, 2023


Karin Davie

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