In the late '90s I showed work in a gallery in Arizona that also showed work by this guy. His subject matter and approach have changed since then, although some elements of his style remain. He was good then and he's even better now. Several of these pieces were part of a New York City debut show that sold out, so he has to be pretty chuffed about that. A review in the New York Times treated the work a little dismissively but hey... he got a review in the New York Times! The reviewer's beef is that the work is illustrative and would be as suitable on a magazine cover as on a wall. The illustrative criticism is one that, frankly, I'm a little tired of hearing. What is generally meant is that the work is strong graphically and narrative. What is implied is that the work is merely commercial. Ian Davis' work does have a strong graphic presence which serves it quite well. If images reproduce well on a smaller scale it does not logically follow that they are less suited to their original larger size. Having seen Mr. Davis earlier work I can make an educated guess that the size of these paintings helps, not hinders, their intention.
These paintings, often featuring crowds of identical dark-suited men, portray the hollowness of contemporary progress, corporate monuments to inanity and the empty and absurd cabals of the wealthy. Today the rich and powerful are more often considered by the masses with outrage and fear. Ian Davis however, takes a cynical gander at the upper crust of the business and cultural elite and, for all the scope of their power and the scale of their projects, pokes fun at what is, quite often, merely empty posturing.
A good number of paintings can be seen at Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects in New York
and, lucky him, there a few pieces at Saatchi Gallery in London
For a longer more informative review of his work check out this article at kansascity.com
"Audience" 2007 acrylic on canvas
"Skeptics" 60" x 65" acrylic on linen 2010