Isis, 2009, by Noah Davis.
Isis, 2009, by Noah Davis. Courtesy of the Frye Art Museum


How can I say this? Young Blood: Noah Davis, Kahlil Joseph, The Underground Museum at the Frye Art Museum is going to mean something to you. It is a very great, very vast show of paintings and films by two brothers who grew up in Seattle and went to high school next to the Frye, at O'Dea, before they left this city and went out and conquered the world—while continuing to make their art, their way.

My review of the show is an overview, and it comes out tomorrow night online. But each work is worth looking at more closely, starting with Davis's painting Isis, made in 2009. This painting is four feet by four feet, and it's a good warmup for looking at all of Davis's scenes. He blends otherworldliness with familiarity so that they never resolve. They blend into each other instead.

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The goddess on the patio is Davis's wife, Karon. She is Isis, first daughter of the god of the earth and the goddess of the sky. As she spreads her winged skirt, she turns the ground in front of her the same gold. She stands next to the old heating vent. The tree above her is in her thrall, fuzzy as if it portended a storm. The lower half of the window has turned black. The upper half shows the chandelier, suggests the dining room table. What's for dinner? Has she turned the sky to stormy, too? How are these questions coming up in the same line of thoughts?

Davis. You have to go to the Frye. More to come.