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Health Threats of All Stripes

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“I just decided to do a stripe painting, just to be outrageous,” Gene Davis said, pondering the origins of his iconic works. “Let’s see if I can’t do something that goes in the opposite direction from painterly abstraction. ” This decision “to get away from painterliness” and “move somewhere else” was at the heart of his art. “It’s something, you know, that shakes them up... And then I took… a drawing course in high school. ” Later in his career he taught art at the Corcoran School of Art and Design and for a time at American University, Skidmore College, and the University of Virginia... A native Washingtonian, Davis frequented art venues, particularly the Phillips Collection. “The small masterpieces of Paul Klee… made an unforgettable impression on me, and I can remember being equally smitten with the complex color harmonies of Bonnard. ” But his interest did not peak until his late 20s, “Because during my early 20s, I was a very happy newspaper man... I covered the White House for 5 years. ” This career included stints as sports writer for the now defunct Washington Daily News and work for United Press International and the New York Times―as a copy boy “a real elitist job to have, because it was a stepping stone to the reportorial. ” “I earned my living as a writer for something like 35 years before I really was successful enough as an artist to quit my job and to paint full time... And that took place in 1968. ” Davis did not “jump into the art stream” until 1949. “I started after having read an article in the New York Times about van Gogh that turned me on. ” He did not join the local art scene until 1950 when he met noted Washington artist and curator Jacob Kainen, who became his mentor and introduced him to Morris Louis and Kenneth Nolan…. “In those days, the big issue was whether you were going to be a realist or an abstractionist…... There’s a whole group of them ―Ellsworth Kelly. ” Their new direction was soon labeled “post-painterly abstraction,” and a group of artists who had not intended to band together began to be referred to as the Washington Color School, their bold work anticipating later movements. “I’d be the last person in the world to claim that Washington’s art influenced Pop Art but I think things were in the air... Because all the other colors in the painting will be something else... But these two relate. ” “I paint to surprise myself. ” Davis believed that shocking or even offending the viewer had an energizing effect. “Ambiguity interests me. ” This could be created by the contrast of opposites. “It’s a little like Mozart, who was a master of ambiguity in that his works can often be regarded as little tinkling, felicitous things, but there’s a strong note of melancholy running throughout... You get that melancholy plus felicity and it creates ambiguity. ” The breadth of a line, the distance between colors, and the interaction of colors create an optic and kinetic effect and an architectural complexity in Davis’ work that appear analytical, mathematical... In that each stripe is individually executed to be viewed at once alone and in conjunction with the others, Davis’ Niagara Knife is not unlike the effort addressed in this month’s issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases: public health at the global level... Each laboriously painted thin or thick stripe, each narrow or wide interval, each lyrical color combination a nation; marching bands of color a dazzling array of diversity and separateness; and altogether as Davis intended them, a bright ensemble, a symphony of color, a public health collaboration as spectacular as any bouquet of flowers. “Painting stripe paintings is a vigorous kind of thing... Generally avoided for its capacity to introduce uncertainty, ambiguity represents the human factor, addressed in the regulations by a decision instrument to guide subjective judgment... Improving the validity of the instrument, along with clarifying measurable goals and progress indicators, promises to overcome some of the ambiguity, pulling individual stripes into bands and the bands into a full form the colors of international health.

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Gene Davis (1920–1985) Niagara Knife (1967) Acrylic on canvas (294.6 cm × 546.1 cm) High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Gift of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.
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Fa: Gene Davis (1920–1985) Niagara Knife (1967) Acrylic on canvas (294.6 cm × 546.1 cm) High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Gift of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.


Health Threats of All Stripes
Gene Davis (1920–1985) Niagara Knife (1967) Acrylic on canvas (294.6 cm × 546.1 cm) High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Gift of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3376828&req=5

Fa: Gene Davis (1920–1985) Niagara Knife (1967) Acrylic on canvas (294.6 cm × 546.1 cm) High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Gift of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.

View Article: PubMed Central

AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED EXCERPT
Please rate it.

“I just decided to do a stripe painting, just to be outrageous,” Gene Davis said, pondering the origins of his iconic works. “Let’s see if I can’t do something that goes in the opposite direction from painterly abstraction. ” This decision “to get away from painterliness” and “move somewhere else” was at the heart of his art. “It’s something, you know, that shakes them up... And then I took… a drawing course in high school. ” Later in his career he taught art at the Corcoran School of Art and Design and for a time at American University, Skidmore College, and the University of Virginia... A native Washingtonian, Davis frequented art venues, particularly the Phillips Collection. “The small masterpieces of Paul Klee… made an unforgettable impression on me, and I can remember being equally smitten with the complex color harmonies of Bonnard. ” But his interest did not peak until his late 20s, “Because during my early 20s, I was a very happy newspaper man... I covered the White House for 5 years. ” This career included stints as sports writer for the now defunct Washington Daily News and work for United Press International and the New York Times―as a copy boy “a real elitist job to have, because it was a stepping stone to the reportorial. ” “I earned my living as a writer for something like 35 years before I really was successful enough as an artist to quit my job and to paint full time... And that took place in 1968. ” Davis did not “jump into the art stream” until 1949. “I started after having read an article in the New York Times about van Gogh that turned me on. ” He did not join the local art scene until 1950 when he met noted Washington artist and curator Jacob Kainen, who became his mentor and introduced him to Morris Louis and Kenneth Nolan…. “In those days, the big issue was whether you were going to be a realist or an abstractionist…... There’s a whole group of them ―Ellsworth Kelly. ” Their new direction was soon labeled “post-painterly abstraction,” and a group of artists who had not intended to band together began to be referred to as the Washington Color School, their bold work anticipating later movements. “I’d be the last person in the world to claim that Washington’s art influenced Pop Art but I think things were in the air... Because all the other colors in the painting will be something else... But these two relate. ” “I paint to surprise myself. ” Davis believed that shocking or even offending the viewer had an energizing effect. “Ambiguity interests me. ” This could be created by the contrast of opposites. “It’s a little like Mozart, who was a master of ambiguity in that his works can often be regarded as little tinkling, felicitous things, but there’s a strong note of melancholy running throughout... You get that melancholy plus felicity and it creates ambiguity. ” The breadth of a line, the distance between colors, and the interaction of colors create an optic and kinetic effect and an architectural complexity in Davis’ work that appear analytical, mathematical... In that each stripe is individually executed to be viewed at once alone and in conjunction with the others, Davis’ Niagara Knife is not unlike the effort addressed in this month’s issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases: public health at the global level... Each laboriously painted thin or thick stripe, each narrow or wide interval, each lyrical color combination a nation; marching bands of color a dazzling array of diversity and separateness; and altogether as Davis intended them, a bright ensemble, a symphony of color, a public health collaboration as spectacular as any bouquet of flowers. “Painting stripe paintings is a vigorous kind of thing... Generally avoided for its capacity to introduce uncertainty, ambiguity represents the human factor, addressed in the regulations by a decision instrument to guide subjective judgment... Improving the validity of the instrument, along with clarifying measurable goals and progress indicators, promises to overcome some of the ambiguity, pulling individual stripes into bands and the bands into a full form the colors of international health.

No MeSH data available.