press release

Black Dragon Society is pleased to present Der Wichser, a solo exhibition of new work by Gerald Davis.

Davis’ title for the show comes from the derogatory German word meaning “boot polisher” and, by extension, “lowly worker” or “loser.” Due, perhaps, to some similarity of motion, wichser also means “masturbator.” Davis’ latest body of work not only illustrates this spectrum of wichser, but also follows a parallel progression of literal to figurative to allegorical interpretations of the idea. The DC Sniper and his young accomplice are plucked straight from the news and drawn, in one half of a diptych, preparing to shoot from the cramped trunk of a car. The accompanying image is of the two in a love scene with the sniper again taking charge of his cohort. While Davis imagines the back-stories of real people, he also creates characters to fit an idea. In the namesake diptych of the show, Davis portrays a caricatured future self as der wichser, first in a voyeuristic masturbatory isolation and second in a more realistic scene of self-mutilation. These loners, creeps, degenerates and miscreants flow in and out of a dystopian narrative the outside world is never fully let into, and the resulting images are surprisingly empathetic and unavoidably human.

Large format, monochromatic drawings are the basis of Davis’ art. His touch is delicate and intimate, pulling the viewer in where they may expect to be repelled. Though complete on their own, Davis often uses these drawings as studies for his oil paintings. While the drawings capture moments in time, the paintings read more as dreams, fantasies, memories and love songs, providing more insight into the totality and motivation of the wichser. In his examination of marginalized outsiders brought front and center, Davis suggests some arbitrariness in the borders of the social machine.

Born in Pittsburgh, PA, Gerald Davis received his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and now lives and works in Los Angeles.

only in german

Gerald Davis
Der Wichser