An image of three artworks hung on the white walls of a gallery.

Kenturah Davis

Artist in Residence, 2021
Artist in Residence, 2020

A portrait of a person in front of an artwork.

Artist Statement

Fundamental to my interest in portraiture is a manner of approaching portraits as vessels capable of carrying and projecting meaning. Rather than paint images, however, I write them, inscribing the histories that entangle us. The repetition and layering of text to the point of illegibility signals the complexities of how we absorb and embody ideas conveyed through language. Understanding that language interferes as much as it aids us in shaping our perceptions, I’ve followed the path of the written line to a woven one to further my investigation outside of figuration. Unconventional looms and other structures incorporate forms and materials that suggest, and occasionally embody, a liminal space. I make forms that blur distinctions like movement and stillness, opacity and transparency, and levity and gravity. While remaining committed to portraiture, my expanding sculptural practice finds strategies outside figuration to explore concepts around the mysterious, the illegible, and the space of things at the edge of perception.

While at Headlands

Writing is an inherent and integral part of my drawing practice, but lately I’ve been thinking about weaving as another technology to encode a material with information. I recently have been experimenting with a process developed in Japan of making paper into thread and then weaving it into a textile. I expect to spend my time making intricate text drawings, and then process some of those drawings into threads I can later use for weaving. My hope is that the environment of Headlands will influence the writing that gets inscribed into the new work.