Emily Davidson

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I’m from the Midwest, a region composed entirely of flat horizons–corn fields dotted with strip malls–and void of much geographic or cultural wonder. A sense of this place has always preoccupied my paintings, and instilled in me an attention and reverence to vast landscape. Also a longing to escape. I remember being fascinated by the humble and mysterious Arthur Dove paintings hanging in my local museum. His early approach to abstraction has always intrigued me: the way he could take a scene of the everyday and transform it into something otherworldly. The paintings are Modernist re-envisionings that retain a distinctly American sensibility; something about them always spoke to me as a bit searching, unsettled, and melancholy.

Like Dove, I strive to paint objects and places not as isolated things, but rather as living forces. Each of my paintings is rooted in a moment of observation: I start with a scene from nature, reflected in a window, or a commercial storefront I pass by. Often this initial vision is twisted or liquefied, collapsed into another space, or opened up like a portal to reveal something else–perhaps a figure, a hand or an eye, a geode, a symbol or message, or a logo. I use these objects as analogs for perception, memories and dreams, and as ways to suggest meaning that may be cryptic, transcendent or even humorous. I think about the way one scene or landscape dissolves into another, the way color, light, and transparency can render the familiar foreign.

I don’t think of my paintings in terms of a fixed subject or narrative. Instead, I want them to function like a constellation, one leading to the next to add up to a larger vision and suggest the multifaceted experience of being alive today. While also looking back. I use figures in my paintings as though they’re monuments or statuaries–their constituent parts serving as an homage to blue skies and verdant horizons, arranged alongside a mix of brick, neon, or Main street scenes.

(b. 1987, Indianapolis, IN)




2011 MFA, Painting, Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, PA

2009 BFA, Painting, with honors, Art Academy of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH

2009 Summer Study, Akademie der Bildenden Kunste, Munich, Germany

2007 New York Studio Program, Parsons The New School, Brooklyn, NY

Selected Exhibitions


Driveway Dance-Off, two-person exhibition, CANADA 331, New York, NY

The Moon and the Serpent, group exhibition, Orgy Park, Brooklyn, NY

Dead End Looped, three-person exhibition, Pilot Projects, Philadelphia, PA

CANADA Friends & Family, group exhibition, CANADA, New York, NY

In Front of Strangers I Sing, curated by Dona Nelson & Rubens Ghenov, Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia, PA

Tomorrow Is Never, curated by Jacob Feige, Stockton Gallery at Richard Stockton College, NJ

Super Sketchy, Alley Oop Projects, New York, NY

Stone Soup Nasty, Orgy Park, Brooklyn, NY

To Fade and Spill Out (and look at another’s whole), FJORD, Philadelphia, PA

Vagabondage, curated by Candace Madey of On Stellar Rays, Hunter College Gallery, NYC

Surf Club, Vox Populi, Philadelphia, PA

Victory for Tyler: Alumni Exhibition, Crane Arts Space, Philadelphia, PA

Souvenir/Here, Temple Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Something to write home about, Live-In Gallery, Cincinnati, OH

Reading Room: Intersections between art and writing, curated by Becky Hunter, Little Berlin, Philadelphia, PA

Wind at my back, SnakeEatTail Productions, The Hatchatory, Philadelphia, PA

Typhoon Haiphan Relief, group exhibition curated by Rachel Fick and Aaron Johnson, LODGE Gallery, NYC

Auto-Dictate, Macie’s Presents, 1717 Troutman St, Brooklyn, NY

Potluck Show, curated by Talia Shulze, Jefferson St Space, Brooklyn, NY

Zodiac Down, Little Berlin, Philadelphia, PA

Painting alumni, Perlman Gallery, Art Academy of Cincinnati, OH


Stephen H. Wilder Travel Grant, Art Academy of Cincinnati, 2009

Yeck Fellowship, Dayton Art Institute, 2009

Teaching Fellowship, Tyler School of Art, 2010

Press & Publications

“Driveway Dance-Off,” TimeOut NY, August 15, 2016 (print)

“The Moon and Serpent at Orgy Park,” Painting is Dead, Scott Robinson, April 15, 2016.


“Galleries: Netsky, Goldberg stick with their vision,” by Edith Newhall

PHILLY.COM; January, 18, 2015 (for print)

“Distilling Abstraction at Fjord,” by Allison Hardt, Paper Clips 215, February 2014

“Fjord figures itself out through traditional mediums and social media,” by Chip Schwartz, Knight Arts, 2014

Super-Sketchy, exhibition ‘zine, Alley Oop Projects publishing, 2016

In Front of Strangers I Sing, exhibition catalogue, Woodmere Museum of Art, 2014

Work Experience

2015-present Associate Director, CANADA, New York, NY

2014-present Co-founder and Curator, Bannerette, Exhibition Space in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn, NY


Guest Artist Lectures


Columbia University, School of the Arts, NY

Rutgers University, Mason Gross School of the Arts, MFA program, NJ

Temple University, Tyler School of Art, MFA program, PA

New York Studio School, NY