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Last stop: UA Museum of Art

Retired UA art professor James G. Davis will be featured by the UA Museum of Art for his contributions to the Southern Arizona art community. The gallery will feature 30 paintings, various monotypes, prints and other works Davis has created. The gallery opens Friday at 5 p.m. and will run until Jan. 30. Admission is free.
By Kylee Dawson
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, December 8, 2004
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Former prof returns to UA bearing artistic gifts

If traveling were a sport, James G. Davis would probably have a couple of medals by now. Fortunately for the artist, his artwork has brought him most of his acclaim, particularly in the Southern Arizona art community.

To honor such contributions, the UA Museum of Art is featuring Davis' work in the exhibit "James G. Davis: Paintings and Works on Paper, 1988-2004."

In addition to 30 paintings, various monotypes, prints and other works will also be displayed.

As an art professor who taught painting and drawing before he retired from the UA in 1991, Davis is now returning to the university to share some of his adventures through the artwork he created over a 15-year period.

Davis said he's been drawing since he was about 5 years old. Now, at 70, Davis is busier than ever, painting and printmaking in his studio.

If you go...

"James G. Davis: Paintings and Works on Paper, 1988-2004"
UA Museum of Art
Runs until Jan. 30
Admission is free

"As a matter of fact, I'm busier now than I ever was when I was teaching," he said.

He does it all from his artist community home, which he calls "the ranch."

"People do different things, but most of us are art-oriented, that's for sure," he said. "This place, we all bought it together and there's several houses and we have studios, and it's a very realistic working place to live and maintain the solitude you need to make your work."

Though Davis' travels serve his work purpose, he also travels for pleasure.

"Several of my friends are poets and writers, and I love going around and visiting them too," he said. "There's always a motive at the end for where I want to go."

While teaching at the University of Missouri in the late 1960s, Davis frequently went to Mexico to paint and visited friends and colleagues in Arizona while on vacation.

"At the time I was painting quite a bit and I still am, of course," he said. "But I was showing a lot too."

When the UA hired him in 1970, Davis high-tailed it to Arizona and has been here ever since.

Though Davis calls Oracle his "home port," he sometimes drops anchor in Berlin, Nova Scotia, Colorado and Madrid, Spain.

"They're places I can work, but believe me, I'm always branching out anyway," Davis said. "I travel a lot, but in order to do your work, especially the kind of work I do in printmaking and painting, you need a stability. You need a place to do that, so I have studios."

People do different things, but most of us are ar

-oriented, that's for sure.
- James G. Davis


Naturally, Davis' travels inspire his artwork, which he described as "representational," but his paintings are more about the experiences of travel.

"There's metaphors in this work," Davis said. "I use the human condition, I use animals, all kinds of things."

When you see Davis work, you'll definitely realize that he is not to be confused with "Garfield" creator Jim Davis.

However, Davis still hears cracks about it.

"I'm not trying to categorize him, but I am not a cartoonist. We do have the same name and I do have to say it is a very common name, so, professionally, I always use the name James G. Davis," he said.

Davis' work has been exhibited in galleries all over the world, but some local galleries include the Etherton Gallery in Tucson and the Riva Yares Gallery in Scottsdale where his son Turner works.

Before Friday's public reception, Turner Davis will deliver a lecture about his father's work at 4 p.m. "James G. Davis: Paintings and Works on Paper, 1988-2004" will run until Jan. 30.

Peter S. Briggs, also a retiree and chief curator of the UAMA, curated the exhibit.

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