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Ross Art Museum Features Dayton Artist Willis ‘Bing’ Davis

October 21, 2008

Ancestral Spirit Dance #382, an oil pastel by Willis ‘Bing’ Davis, is an example the colorful artwork he creates that combines African traditions with life in urban America.
Photo courtesy of Willis “Bing” Davis
Click here for a high resolution version. (2232k JPG)
DELAWARE, OHIO – Artist and educator Willis “Bing” Davis will exhibit oil pastels, ceramics, and other pieces that meld African traditions with life in urban America during his upcoming show at Ohio Wesleyan University’s Richard M. Ross Art Museum.

“On the Shoulders of Ancestors” will be on display from Oct. 21 through Nov. 16 at the museum, 60 S. Sandusky St. Davis also will give an illustrated talk at 7 p.m. Oct. 30 in Benes Room B of Hamilton-Williams Campus Center, 40 Rowland Ave. A reception will follow at Ross Art Museum.

Davis’ show is being exhibited in conjunction with the museum’s eco-friendly show, “Discarded to Distinctive,” which opened Oct. 1. Davis, like the five artists involved in “Discarded to Distinctive,” incorporates many found or recycled items into his artwork. He believes this helps to “demystify” the process of artistic creation and makes art more accessible to people.

“What I want the viewers to feel is something beyond the ordinary,” Davis has said. “I want them to stop, pause, to reflect, and in that refection, hopefully, give honor and praise to those who went before and those on whose shoulders they stand.”

Davis is well-known for his art installations, during which he creates new, three-dimensional works of art in full public view. Though an installation will not be part of his upcoming show, the Dayton, Ohio, resident is scheduled to return to the university during spring semester to spend a day or two creating art in Gallery 2001, an exhibition space within Beeghly Library, 43 Rowland Ave.

“Willis ‘Bing’ Davis creates striking artwork that incorporates the richness of his ancestry and his life experiences,” said Justin Kronewetter, M.F.A., director of the Ross Art Museum. “His drawings, for example, are often inspired by the kente and Kuba cloth used in traditional African garments. His work has a very spiritual dimension, and I’m sure people will enjoy it.”

Davis earned his Bachelor of Arts from DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind. He attended the School of the Dayton Art Institute and received his Master of Education from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. As an art educator, he spent 20 years at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio. He also has taught at Wright State University in Dayton, Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and Dayton Public Schools.

Admission to the Richard M. Ross Art Museum is always free. The museum is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The museum is closed Mondays and Saturdays. For more information, call (740) 368-3606.

Ohio Wesleyan University is an undergraduate liberal arts college that transforms the lives of its students through a combination of rigorous academics, mentoring relationships, and real-world experiences. Featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” the private university’s 1,850 students come from 47 states and 50 countries. Visit www.owu.edu for more information.