Davis Cone

"The paintings of Davis Cone offer an irresistible combination of technique, emotion, artistic mastery, and history.  He has been called one of the great virtuosos of twentieth-century Realist art.  Over the past twenty-five years Cone has carved out a signatory vision, painting again and again the small Art Deco movie houses that populate all of America, from its largest cities to its remove rural enclaves.  His obsession with this singular subject matter paradoxically evokes the pathos, allure, and romance of America’s love affair with the movies, seen through the selective eye of an implacable observer. His chronicle of the faded spirit of 1930s America superimposes itself on the jarring canvas of today’s world."

Michael D. Kinerk and Dennis W. Wilhelm
Popcorn Palaces: The Art Deco Paintings of Davis Cone

"In distinguishing painter from camera, it helps to note that one can make a good or at least an interesting photograph by accident.  By contrast, successful paintings are just the opposite of accidents.  They are intentional.  Of course, most photographs are intended, as well, and yet the photographer’s intention has a rather oblique relation to the image.  Intention points the camera, adjusts the shutter speed, and so on.  Later, deliberate choices are made about which image to keep, how to crop or otherwise adjust it.  But nowhere in this process does one find the intimate, sustained intention that sends Cone’s brush across every millimeter of every surface.  Seamlessly, the minute touches that fill the canvas with an image connect with the compositional intentions that place the forms of the image within the frame, establish its scale, and soak it with a distinctive quality of light."

Carter Ratcliff
Finding the Present: The Paintings of Davis Cone

Carter Ratliff is a contributing editor of Art in America. His writings have appeared in the publications of museums including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Guggenheim in New York, and the Royal Academy in London.  He is the author of The Fate of a Gesture:  Jackson Pollock and Postwar American Art. He lives in Highland New York.

"Davis is a towering virtuoso.  Probably one of the great ones of the twentieth century, or twenty-first century, as it may be. I equate him to two or three other artists that we exhibit here who work within the same aesthetic principles.  Hyperrealist."
Ivan C. Karp, Owner of O.K. Harris Works of Art
Quoted from Popcorn Palaces: The Art Deco Paintings of Davis Cone
"There is no doubt that time has taken a heavy toll on the movie houses Davis Cone loves; we can only hope that in more and more cases time will now be on their side and that he will continue to paint these marvelous evocations, which record both the time we live in and an era that has passed."
Linda Chase, Art Critic and Author
Quoted from Hollywood on Main Street: The Movie House Paintings of Davis Cone
"Davis Cone’s extraordinarily realistic paintings of old movie theatres on America’s town and city streets produce an oddly emotional experience: A sharp ache of recognition of a kind of innocence that is somehow irretrievably lost.  Or perhaps, because Mr. Cone’s work represents these images of Americana so accurately – and with such a subtly elegiac quality – the emotion we feel is as of a distant memory suddenly recaptured."
Peter Bogdanovich, film director, Hollywood
Quoted from Hollywood on Main Street: The Movie House Paintings of Davis Cone
“In his career, Cone has focused unwaveringly on old movie theaters, both urban and suburban, as his subject matter.  Cone has chose photos shot from various angles, utilizing different lighting situations, and taken in all kinds of weather.  He has painted both day and night images, and all sorts of weather – whether sunny, gray, rainy, or misty.  Cone’s attention to detail, his self-discipline, and his feeling for composition, form, and color have served to make him one of the most consistent of Photorealist artists.”
Photorealism Since 1980, Louis K. Meisel, Harry N. Abrams, Inc. NYC, 1993
"Davis makes me look at these buildings and at the scenes that he paints with a fresh eye and with a deep appreciation for the creation that went into the building, for the understanding that went into making the painting, and for the lives that are associated with the living breathing theaters and the surrounding events.  And that’s an extraordinary achievement.  You can explain a lot about how he does in but in the end it’s the magic trick that makes the whole thing come together. That’s what interests me."
Robert Fisko, Owner of Forum Gallery
Quoted from Popcorn Palaces: The Art Deco Paintings of Davis Cone