Last August, painter and installation artist Noah Davis, who was raised in Seattle but based in Los Angeles, died of cancer at the age of 32.
During his brief career, Davis established himself as a significant force in the art world and one of the country’s most prominent African-American artists. His somber, mysterious and emotionally laden paintings, which depict black American figures, landscapes and themes, were included in many important exhibitions and acquired by major museums and collectors. He also created The Underground Museum, a series of interconnected storefronts in LA’s working-class neighborhood of Arlington Heights.
In conjunction with the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, it exhibits notable artists and stages shows that offer oblique commentary on the contemporary art world.
Davis’ paintings are now on view at the Frye Art Museum in Young Blood, an exhibit that joins his work with that of his brother, Kahlil Joseph, the widely exhibited photographer and videographer. The show is guest-curated by Seattle artist and 2014 Neddy Award recipient Maikoiyo Alley-Barnes. Although the brothers’ art reveals an experience very different from the ones manifested in the Frye’s collection of European and American painting, their methods of telling stories are similar, making the museum a compelling venue for showcasing it.
Kahlil Joseph’s “Streetlight” is at the Frye through mid-June
Through 6/19. Times vary. Free. Frye Art Museum, First Hill; 704 Terry Ave.; 206.622.9250; fryemuseum.org