"I thank woods davy for letting me into his world of rocks, and leading me to the realization that rocks are but stardust and by extension, so are we...

...in ancient times a davy sculpture might have been an object of worship, fear or ritual, and as was customary would have been anointed with oil or milk or smeared with blood of sacrifices."

- ron colby, a man with stones, documentary film, 2015

 

"In a studio full of stones, sculptor Woods Davy trains nature to defy what’s natural..  He named the series “Cantamar” after the Mexican beach where he gathers the stones used to construct the sculptures."

- Kelly Almond, The Scholar, Spring, 2011

     

“The Woods Davy exhibition at Galerie Marie Laure de L’Ecotais in Paris – the fst of this artist in Europe – may cause the most Cartesian (logical) of us to stop in their tracks.  His creations – outcroppings of stones – vacillate between balance and tension, defying mathematic laws, and creating a surprising rapport between opposing forces.  The stones appear to float in the air, renouncing their own identity as if their weight no longer existed.  They seem to be held in a precarious equilibrium, evoking a feeling of total serenity.  All of which leads us to wonder for what (bad) reasons has his work just reached us!”

- Marie C. Aubert, La Gazette, March 9, 2010

 

     “For the past twenty-five years, Davy has worked with natural elements,  usually incorporating various types of stone in fluid balancing acts that reflect the artist’s “Western Zen” sensibility.  The current body of work, entitled “Cantamar,” is created from stones collected on a beach in Mexico of the same name.  The smooth, rounded, ovoid stones the artist collects are naturally polished and shaped by years of rolling and tumbling from wave to shore.  Davy then assembles these stones in graceful, wave-like arcs that seem to float in space.”

 - The American Sculptor, Oct. 7, 2007

 

     “Woods Davy might be thought of as among the first “green” Post Modern artists.  In fact, he comes from a long tradition of post ‘60s artists like John Cage, who either directly or just by their practical sensibility, engage Eastern or Zen notions of oneness with nature, organic systems of change as engines of art composition, non-disruptive respect for natural materials in unaltered states, and the fashioning of objects that are not your typical museum pedestal works.”

- ArtScene, Sept. 2007

 

"THE CANTAMAR SCULPTURES ARE MADE OF STONES GATHERED BY DAVY OUT OF THE PACIFIC OCEAN IN MEXICO, NEAR A SMALL TOWN FOR WHICH THE SERIES IS NAMED, WHICH TRANSLATES AS “SONG OF THE SEA.”  THESE ROCKS FROM THE SEA – PINK, RED, IVORY-HUED, MICACEOUS, LAVA-BLACK, STRIATED – ARE DELICATE, ALMOST PAINTERLY.  ROUNDED BY THE TIDES, THEY APPEAR TO ROLL LIKE THE WAVES THAT SHAPED THEM, UNFOLDING ORGANICALLY AT EACH MOMENT.  BUILT OF SUCH STONE AND HIDDEN STEEL, THESE WORKS DEFY GRAVITY, JOSTLING OUR EXPECTATIONS AND SUBVERTING OUR PERCEPTION OF THEIR WEIGHT AND NATURAL PRESENCE IN THE WORLD."

SHANA NYS DAMBROT, TIERRA BUENA, 2004

 

     “Despite the enduring influence of Modernism’s emphasis on material integrity –  the paint-for-paint’s sake philosophy that’s held sway for half a century - there is still something thrilling about a work that appears to defy its own natural properties.  Such is the case with Woods Davy’s new stone sculpture at Craig Krull Gallery, which flout the most basic law governing three-dimensional work:  gravity.  In each case, the stones are joined end to end with invisible stainless steel pins and appear to be magically floating.  The trick might come off as mere novelty, but for the quality of meditative reverence that underpins it.  The stones retain their organic form despite their unnatural arrangement, and one is compelled to appreciate – as Davy clearly does – the simple beauty of their shape and texture.  In this sense, the works function like a Zen rock garden and will no doubt be better off in an environment more conducive than an art gallery to the practice of contemplation.”

- Holly Myers, Los Angeles Times, March 28, 2003

 

     “Woods Davy’s unique organic sensibility reemerges in his new Cantamar series, a gracefully choreographed group of stone sculptures.  Each one marches through space in a horizontal line that is full of movement and underlying complexity.  Elegant and simple, Davy’s sculptures formally convey refined rhythm.  Because they are pared down to their essentials, the works comprising the Cantamar series manage to illuminate the poetry of nature.”

- Kathy Zimmerer, ArtScene, Feb. 2000

 

Heaven’s Gate is particularly Brancusian in its conversion of hard metal into supremely simple erotic poetry – but its eroticism, with the implication of female sexuality as a spiritual power of divine grandeur, is at the same time another profound identification with the tribal African vision of reality.”

- Jonathan Saville, San Diego Reader, Jan. 20, 1994

 

     “Davy has become a well-known figure on the urban landscape in recent years, both for his widely visible public commissions, such as a major piece on Wilshire Blvd., as well as many private collections.  It was always easy to recognize Davy’s work for its precarious balance of rocks perched on heavy beams.  Mixing an Asian sense of spareness with a sensitivity to the tension between natural and urban structures, Davy’s work had found its niche.  So, like any good artist, he tried something new. New is only half of it.  Davy’s work is both a radical departure and a highly successful one.  The internal tensions and the concern for balance remain, although the forms are no longer cantilevered beams; they are folded steel tubes rising triumphantly from the floor like an outcropping of silvery reeds.  Reminiscent of Giaciometti’s attenuated figures as well as the bondage of Michaelangelo’s slaves, these very contemporary abstractions communicate an existential tension between transcendence and restraint, freedom and limitation.”

- Dinah Berland, Long Beach Press Telegram, May 13, 1990

 

     “One of their most stimulating shows (Works Gallery) features sculptures by Woods Davy.  Many may remember Davy’s trademark river stones and steel beams from the past.  The tightly balance units, which juxtapose the natural versus the man-made and smooth versus rough, are Oriental in feel and philosophical in mood. Well, folks, the new work is simply breathtaking.  The geometric, almost Mondrianlike feel of the sculpture has been replaced by long sensuous verticals.  A long piece of tubular steel is bent in half and then compressed and coiled with a chain at varying spots.  The chain, seemingly tightened and bending the steel, adds tremendous tension to the work as it breaks the teel’s smooth lines.  Furthermore, we are confronted by the symbolism of this art.  The steel becomes the prisoner of the chain.  A dialogue is established, raising probing questions.  While still maintaining the intellectual basis of his earlier work, Woods has added a punch to his presentation, one not easily forgotten.”

- Orville O. Clarke Jr., Southern California House and Garden, July 1990

 

     “Woods Davy seeks nothing less than to reconcile the forces of nature and technology – natural combatants in the urban landscape – in large, site-related public sculptures.  He attempts this by “balancing” (they are really attached) naturally rounded riverbed stones on rust-colored steel beams sliced and bolted into vertical and horizontal elements.  The precariously perched Los Angeles Riverbed stones – some standing alone, others in clumps – seem to deny their own hardness and solidity by appearing to melt over the edges, hanging and balancing like blobs of soft, warm wax.  If this is a reconciliation between nature and technology, it is one in which nature clearly wins.  But no one is likely to argue with that.”

- Jo Ann Lewis, The Washington Post, Feb. 8, 1986

 

     “Critics choice:  Balancing seems to be a precarious trade – for a sculptor, that is – especially when one deals with structural steel and large rocks.  Yet, as seen here in the studio, the results seem to float on air as if suspended in gravity-defying weightlessness.  The recent large sculpture and tiny maquettes by Woods Davy are fascinating ways of juxtaposing steel and stone, urban-stiff and natural-soft forms.”

- Carol J. Everingham, The Houston Post, May 13, 1985

 

“He is still concerned with the same large question:  How does the artist combine natural and technological form to forge an object that transcends the sum of its parts?  His sculptures, for the most part, continue to provide convincing answers.”

- Robert L. Pincus, The Los Angeles Times, Sept. 2, 1983

 

     “Woods Davy’s new sculpture signals a bold change of direction.  Swinging away from his wood dominated works, his new pieces introduce large riverbed stones, making the compositions more complex than earlier forms and far more satisfying.  It is a study in balance, a composition divided into two levels.  The first is made of tubular steel beams that form the base.  The steel creates a rhythm that, according to the artist, is a system of “continuous, interlocking convoluted lines.”  A tension within the steel is resolved by the river stones, which form the second level.  The randomness of nature replaces the deliberateness of steel.  Balance and tension, calm and energy persist in every piece.  Davy’s recent growth and stylistic development are especially encouraging for future work.”

- Orville O. Clarke, Jr, Images and Issues, Sept. 1983

 

     “Woods Davy’s sculptures play nature off against technology.  Davy’s wallpieces and freestanding ones both juxtapose lengths of rusted steel, in straight lines and sharp angles, with sections of logs that have been mounted on steel pedestals like precious objects.  Of course, geometric form always alludes to the rational mind and the Euclidean heritage that leads us to believe that nature can be ordered, structured and controlled.  In Davy’s work, nature has been tamed, cut and fragmented:  sections of trees have been striped of their bark and appear pale and naked in lonely yet lyrical isolation from their original environment.  They are at once stately, ominous and elegant in their contrast of subtle curves to linear steel.  These highly formal works poetically raise questions regarding our uses of, and responses to, our resources.”

- Melinda Wortz, Art News, Sept. 1981

 

     “The sculpture of Woods Davy is, by itself, sufficient evidence of continuing vitality for anybody who has asked himself if there is life in L.A. art, after the flowering of the ‘60s.”

- William Wilson, The Los Angeles Times, Sept. 27, 1981

 

     “Davy, who lives and works in downtown Los Angeles, shows seven metal pieces, each topped with a surprise element.  His sculptures are essentially linear constructions.  They are composed of a few square beams connected at right angles, white tape lines on the floor and a chunk of stone or a slice of gnarled tree trunk.  The white tape stuck to the floor reaches out from the sculpture, suggesting shadows and other spatial extensions.  The effect is of form in flux – precisely composed but capable of other arrangements. His work is at its best at Security Pacific because it incorporates the building without succumbing to its mammoth proportions.”

- Suzanne Muchnic, The Los Angeles Times, April 30, 1980