Genre: Visual Artist
Alonzo J. Davis' career as an artist spans four decades. A native of Tuskegee, Alabama, Davis moved with his family to Los Angeles in his early teens. After acquiring an undergraduate degree at Pepperdine College he earned an MFA in Printmaking and Design at Otis Art Institute. Influenced early on by the assemblagists, Davis soon took wing and began to experiment with a variety of mediums, techniques and themes. At the suggestion of artist and former professor, Charles White, Davis began to produce prints and paintings in series. While he was inspired by travel to Africa, the Caribbean and American Southwest—the colors and patterns of the Pacific Rim cultures also seeped into Davis’ artwork. During the ‘70’s and early ‘80’s, Davis’ involvement in the California mural movement culminated with the 1984 Olympic Murals project. His Eye on ’84 is one of ten murals on the walls of the downtown Los Angeles Harbor Freeway. In 1987 Davis entered new territory literally and figuratively when he moved from Los Angeles to Sacramento, California. From there, fellowships in Hawaii and Texas inaugurated new bodies of work and led to job opportunities in academia--deanships at the San Antonio Art Institute and the Memphis College of Art. During this period his on-going Blanket Series of woven paintings—morphed into a series of installations. Among these were Christopher Columbus Did Not Discover America, which incorporated light elements, rocks and arrows, and the Tar Paper Series, richly-textured organic forms that Davis “choreographed” onto large wall spaces. These works signaled a transition from 2-D to 3-D. Commissions to create public art for the Boston Subway, Atlanta International Airport, Wolfchase Galleria and the Memphis/Shelby County Library in Tennessee indirectly led the way to the next large body of work with bamboo as his primary medium. Bamboo insinuated its way into Davis’ work about fifteen years ago and he has since launched a number of series, sculptural forms that he regards as paintings in the round. Power Poles, Bamboo Constructions, Passageways and Sky Ladders to name a few. In 2006 The American Bamboo Society presented Davis an Award for Excellence in Using Bamboo for Judicial Balance, a bamboo construction created for the Prince George’s Maryland County Courthouse. Other commissions completed since moving to Maryland ten years ago include permanent installations for the U.S. Embassy in Togo, West Africa, the Blue Cross/Blue Shield Conference Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and the Epic Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida. Current studios are in Mount Rainier, MD and Paducah, KY. Established an endowment at VCCA to benefit Americans of African and Latino descent.