Some artists paint landscapes, or portraits or still lifes. Artist Kristi Davis prefers to paint ideas...and frequently they are ideas full of humor or irony. And some are just plain off-beat...sort of like Kristi herself.
Kristi describes herself as a painter of "magical realism." That label was put on her artwork while she lived in Santa Fe, and its a label she feels is accurate. Davis paints realistically, but she creates highly stylized compositions with magical settings and magical subjects.
Davis attributes much of her unique art approach to her childhood in rural New Mexico. Davis' grandmother ran a guest ranch in Ramah and it was here that she met many artists, writers and anthropologists who were excavating the many Anasazi ruins scattered around El Morro Valley. Kristi grew up around the five prominent cultures of the area Mormons, Texans, Mexican-Americans, Navajos and Zunis.
"My background has the mythology of all five cultures," she explained. Davis takes those mythological stories and uses them as springboards for her own imagination. "They're my own mythology," she said with a laugh. She creates highly stylized compositions, she explained, so that viewers can share what she was thinking as she visualized the idea. Many of her paintings have roots in the spiritual mythology of the Southwest. She said she is drawn to many powerful images from nature clouds, rain, water, stars and sky and to the relationship between people and nature.
Born in 1948, Kristi Davis spent her childhood on a ranch near Ramah, New Mexico. She recieved a Bachelor of Fine Arts from San Jose State University in California in 1969. As a Peace Corp volunteer in Africa for 3 years she taught and was an artist for the Ethiopian Ministry of Wildlife. After returning to New Mexico, Davis lived in Santa Fe where she was the director of the Old Canyon Road Grocery Store Gallery, and later Crafts Director of Hill's Gallery of Contemporary Art. She is currently a self-employed artist and silversmith near El Morro, New Mexico and has some of her artwork on display and for sale at the the Old School Gallery in El Morro, New Mexico
"Though, on the surface her work resembles a great deal of Southwestern mystical art, she has qualities of irony and humor that set a number of her works apart from the usually tired genre .... she has a definite twinkle in her eye when she depicts ... with a personal poetry and an ironic southwestern flavor."' Santa Fe New Mexican - 1974
"Perhaps most interesting in Davis' work are the insights into the relationships between natural forms and the forms created by those people who live close to nature." Santa Fe Reporter - 1974