A multi-sensory exhibition and living environment for creative activity. As a visual artist, writer, and performer, sonia louise davis’ working ethos is invested in improvisation as a form of research that uses the body as a guide. The artist’s philosophy is characterized by improvisation not only as it relates to experimental music, but as a daily exercise of care, resilience, radical softness, and self-determination in the face of systemic injustices.
This exhibition includes textile-based soft paintings, a wall mural with neons, and the debut of davis’ custom steel instruments, or “sounders,” to be activated by performers. The artist creates graphic scores using an invented notation that manifests in her work across media. Situated within a lineage of Black feminist abstraction and avant-garde music, this vocabulary of lines, curves, dots, rings, and dashes are interwoven, layered, and repeated throughout the gallery. These notations or gestures are echoed in davis’ soft paintings by an industrial tufting machine, which runs yarns through the surface of each work to create voluminous forms with high relief and texture.
Image: Installation view, sonia louise davis, “score for Queens Museum,” 2023 / photo by Hai Zhang