Paul Davis

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Artist Statement

My landscapes are about quietness, peacefulness and a calm state of mind. They are also about my experiences.

I grew up in Connecticut and we were never far from a freeway or the city. So at age 10 when we moved to a small town in the mountains of Vermont, my world changed. I was powerfully affected by the adventure of the mountains. I somehow felt that the mountains belonged to me. On car trips I scoured the patterns and forms of every mountainside, imagining the route I would take to the top. Coming across a deer in the forest for the first time was absolutely exhilarating, and I still feel that way today on my daily hikes in the mountains of Utah.

The landscape here is so grand that it has taken me some time to express it in a way that seems my own. I’ve become fascinated by the surfaces of cliff walls and by what I see on the ground on my daily hikes. Erosion, decay, stains, varnishes, lichens, volumes, cracks, contrasted by freshly exposed planes, all modulated by light, wind, water, weather and time are incredibly beautiful and inspiring for a painter. Leonardo suggested that artists should study old walls to stimulate the imagination. In one way or another I have been doing that for years. 


Paul Davis was born in Providence, Rhode Island in 1946. He served in the U. S. Air Force from 1965 to 1969. Following his service, Paul went to Boston University where he studied with Phillip Guston and James Weeks. He earned a BFA in 1973 and an MFA in 1975. Shortly after graduating, he drove across the country. “Utah blew me away. I had no idea of what the red rock country was like. I went back to teach at The Art Institute of Boston where I learned of a position at the University of Utah. Since I wanted to come here to paint the landscape, I applied and got the job.” As a professor and Department Chair, Paul has taught painting for twenty-five years. He is currently a Professor Emeritus at the University of Utah.