Joyride is an extra special exhibition, for various reasons. First, as a relatively young curator, this exhibit allowed me an ideal opportunity to work with an artist I’ve followed for quite some time and collaborated with in the past. Davis’ art has always sparked my imagination not simply because of her subject matter, but because of her undeniable skill and talent. I often wondered about her future potential and observing the consistent growth in her art over the years, delighted in the anticipation of what she would be capable of next. Artists who inspire possibility are to me, the most intriguing. Appropriately then, this exhibit also fulfilled a long-standing vision for Public Functionary: to support artists in showing work that could be considered their “next level.” We want to provide artists with the space and the support to push outside of any past expectations for their work. We want to sustain a reputation that inspires artists to challenge themselves. The hope of having your mind blown by an artist’s show is a high, those of us in the art world, will forever chase. Public Functionary fully supports artists who are willing to take risks, to explore their own limits.
Last year, Public Functionary also tested its limits and stretched far to challenge what is possible in a gallery space. Three out-of-state artists exhibits presented in 2013 taught us valuable lessons and helped establish our self-proclaimed precedent. Perhaps a Jennifer Davis exhibit would at first, seem like an easy choice in comparison. Instead, this has perhaps been our most challenging exhibit yet. This exhibit represents the benefit of all the risks we took last year. It shares what we learned and what we can now offer to Minnesota-based artists. In some ways, this needed to be our best exhibit to date.
This impeccably crafted new body of work delivers exactly what Davis promised and more. We are absolutely honored to share it with you.
[THE ARTIST] Jennifer Davis (Minneapolis)
Jennifer Davis is a Minneapolis-based artist known for her skillful and imaginative paintings of surreal creatures and whimsical characters. She has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions at venues such as The Minneapolis Institute of Arts (Minneapolis, MN); The DeVos Art Museum (Marquette, MI); Soo Visual Arts Center (Minneapolis, MN); Foster Museum (Eau Claire, WI); Bloomington Art Center (Bloomington, MN); and Turchin Center for the Visual Arts (Boone, NC), as well as several galleries in major cities across the United States. Davis has been featured by national publications including Architectural Digest, Juxtapoz and Beautiful Decay, as well as being heralded as a rising star and local favorite by Twin Cities media since 2001. Davis is a recipient of the 2013 Next Step Fund Grant from the Minnesota Regional Arts Council/McKnight Foundation. She holds a BFA from the University of Minnesota.
[DOCUMENTATION] The Exhibition
[DOCUMENTATION] About The Exhibit
After viewing old Super8 reels depicting family visits to the county fair in the early ’70s, Jennifer Davis found herself intrigued by circus and carnival imagery. Preliminary online research led her to the discovery of dozens of vintage carousels and carousel museums between Minnesota and the East coast. In the summer of 2013, Davis set out on an 8-cities-in-8-days research trip to study, photograph and sketch antique carousel animals and classic vignette paintings. She toured carnival museums, met with restoration experts and generally immersed herself in carnival culture. Joyride is the product of the findings from this focused exploration: a complete body of large-scale paintings inspired by vintage carousel animals and traditional carousel vignette paintings.
Jennifer Davis: Joyride is Public Functionary’s first major exhibition of a Minneapolis artist and the kick off to its 2014 exhibition schedule, which will feature both established and emerging Minnesota-based and out-of-state artists. In its inaugural year, Public Functionary focused on defining its exhibition style: highly produced, immersive art experiences designed to make an artist’s work communicate on a broader, more impactful scale. In 2014, the organization will more deeply explore community: cultivating it, identifying it and engaging it in as many ways possible.