Glen Davies was born in Chicago, and attended the School of the Art Institute there during the late 1960’s where the intrigue of the great museums and the influence of Chicago’s homegrown pop genre “imagism” combined to set the stage for his grotesque figural fantasies, exploring themes of spiritual conflict, and the journey toward enlightenment.  After fulfilling a childhood dream of traveling with the circus, Davies worked for a short time as a billboard artist and sign painter, eventually opening a mural painting business.  After receiving an MFA in painting from the University of Illinois, Davies has divided his time between studio pursuits and a variety of alternative employments including circus/carnival show painter, sideshow banner artist, professional muralist, curator, and educator.

Davies was represented for several years by Chicago’s Phyllis Kind Gallery and is currently showing with Packer/Schopf Gallery in Chicago and La Luz de Jesus Gallery in Los Angeles.  His works resides in many public and private collections including Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History, The Krannert Art Museum and Kinkead Pavilion, the Georgia Museum of Art, The American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Roger Brown Study Collection of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.The narrative element of painting has always been essential to my creative process. I question the mysteries that I see in life and confront my fears by creating scenarios that visually explore this quest for answers. The act of creating helps me to overcome these fears by forging a relationship between the physical act of painting and the intellectual and spiritual processes I utilize during the creation of a new work.

I would sum up my goal in painting as trying to make sense of the world (specifically, my world) by breaking it down into a visual language. Perhaps it’s the muralist in me or my great “first love” of medieval and renaissance subject matter, but I have always felt an obligation to relate life experience as moral drama, played out in a public forum.  I feel a duty to provide something in my work that communicates ideas and opens minds to choices and new ways of facing issues in life.  It might be more accurate to say that I address these issues from a personal perspective and strive to give them a more worldly application by painting them in a metaphorical or allegorical setting.

The titles of the works often refer to a colloquial phrase, proverb, or saying employed as a clue to help unlock the riddle of the painting. Overshadowing most other considerations is my goal to suspend time and reveal a “moment of mystery” in the work.  I’ve used the phrase “moment of mystery” as a title for many pieces over the past twenty-five years. It remains an essential element in my artistic endeavors and relates to the sense of awe and intrigue that lies in my earliest childhood memories. Certain moments coalesce to form an inspired realization of life’s mysteries and the infinity of time and space. Even crude attempts by humankind to describe or invent mystery through physical means become a fascinating source of investigation and ultimately a source for my psycho-dramas.

Through symmetry, embellishment, and context I pursue this suspended moment and attempt to recreate it.  Like warning signs, I want the work to confront the viewer.  By creating a dialogue, the paintings invite interpretation and encourage viewers to stop, reflect, assess a point in their lives and proceed with caution or guarded optimism.


2015, Glen speaking at a retrospective of his work in Bloomington, Illinois