Matty Davis is an artist from Pittsburgh, PA, where his grandfather worked for decades in the steel mills and his father’s plane crashed. Described as “fearless” by the New Yorker, his multidisciplinary practice begins with the body and movement, often in collaboration with materials, the land, and/or other people to explore force, trust, and locomotion. These movements are generated by an ongoing search for immediacy, risk, and transformation.
Davis grew up as a competitive athlete in multiple sports, which exposed him to visceral understandings of surface, impact, injury, cooperation, and play that continue to influence his work. His performances function generatively, wherein movement and choreography act as a kind of tap, springing forth drawings, photographs, sculpture, books, and video that is inextricably linked to the physicality, site-specificity, and materiality engaged.
His work has been presented by the Art Institute of Chicago, the Max Ernst Museum, Steppenwolf Theater, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Pioneer Works, Judson Church, the 92nd St. Y, the Watermill Center, Creative Growth, and the Arts Arena in Paris, among others. In 2012, Davis co-founded BOOMERANG, and apart from his own work has performed works by or with Hito Steyerl, David Hallberg, Francesco Vezzoli, Guido van der Werve, Andy de Groat, and Tino Sehgal. He was the recipient of a 2016 Visual Arts Fellowship from the Edward F. Albee Foundation, and has been artist-in-residence at Queenslab, the Watermill Center, and Kickstarter’s HQ in Brooklyn. He was named as 1 of 25 artists to watch in 2019 by Dance Magazine. Davis has taught at institutions and schools throughout the US, including New York University, the Art Institute of Chicago, Virginia Commonwealth University, the Kansas City Art Institute, Columbia College, Oberlin College, and the Professional Performing Arts High School in New York. He currently lives in Brooklyn, and works both there and beyond.