Archive for August 6th, 2012

Ulysses Davis- Lost Tribe in the Swamp with Alligators

I recently came across the work of another folk/outsider artist whose work really resonates with me.  It is by Ulysses Davis, a barber who lived in Savannah, Georgia, passing away in 1990 at the age of 76.  His medium was woodcarving and over the course of his life he created a very diverse body of work that had both the simple and free feel of the Outsider artist’s vision and the compositional sophistication of a fine artist.  His subjects covered a wide spectrum,  ranged from the fantastic to straight portraiture including a series of busts of all of  the US Presidents up to the year of his death. Very striking stuff.

Ulysses Davis- No No Bird

He  seldom sold his work, saying “They’re my treasure. If I sold these, I’d be really poor.”   As a result, his work never garnered the exposure or the recognition it deserved although he did receive a few honors before his death, his work showing in an important 1982 exhibit of modern Black Folk Art at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.  In the years since, the American Folk Art Museum did mount a retrospective of his lifework in a 2009 exhibit called The Treasure of Ulysses Davis,  the title playing off of Davis’ own words on his work.

And what a treasure it is, one that we are fortunate enough to at least share in images and in a few museums.  Beautiful work with a unique vision…

Ulysses Davis- Get Off My Back


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