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by Kathy Zimmerer

(Skidmore Contemporary Art, Malibu) Woods Davy’s unique organic sensibility reemerges in his new Cantamar series, a gracefully choreographed group of stone sculptures. Known throughout the eighties for his poetic manipulation of natural materials, Davy worked briefly with steel sculpture before returning to smooth, glowing stones.

"Ocotillo," stone, 30 x 16 x 11?.

The following examples are
from the "Cantamar" series
of sculptures in stone, all 1999:

Octotillo is a study in simplicity and balance. The stones, held together by invisible steel rods, tumble through space in a dynamic dance.

Selected from nature’s bounty at the beach, Davy’s stones are sculptured by the water, wind and sand, and are beautiful objects in themselves. He carefully weighs the aesthetics of each to create fluid balancing acts. The sculptures are ultimately pared down to emphasize the lyrical quality that encourages contemplation. Certainly these stones are subtle reminders of the natural wonders of California. Davy’s sculptures act as intimate shrines to the beauty of the ocean and it’s immense innate power.

Davy’s facility with composition is very much in evidence here. Using stones, which range from a deep rust to a charcoal gray sheen, fashioned into precariously stacked arrangements lend them animation. Each one marches through space in a horizontal line that is full of movement and underlying complexity. The structural integrity is always flowing, never contrived. In effect Davy highlights all of the stones, calling attention to their various eroded surfaces, colorful marking, and organic shapes. The vagaries of the stones reinforce the undulating movement of the sculpture.

Abstract yet organic, the natural forms inform the logic of placement. In one work a large, volumetric stone manages to anchor both sides of the composition. In another an elongated stone leads the eye further out into space. A third work consists of long, vertically placed stones that are offset by a fat, circular stone that provides all of the counterbalance. Because of their inherent movement and form, these stones have an anthropomorphic quality that lends vitality to their structure.

Elegant and simple, Davy’s sculptures formally convey refined rhythm. Because they are pared down to their essentials, the works comprising the Cantamar series manage to illuminate the poetry of nature.