"What if campaign signs, badges, bumper stickers and flags aren't simply the ephemera of Americans' political lives, but their substance as well? That this phenomenon finds resonance in photography's arm's-length access to its subjects makes Davis' work deeply sad and grand at the same time." —Peter Eeley, Frieze magazine
Tim Davis is a photographed who sees unintended derangements of objects in offices, hospitals, strip malls and the political sphere. Democrat and Republican, 2002, from My Life in Politics (Aperture, 2006) is part of the artist's dissection of the current disenchantment that has become American politics. This image was taken in a warehouse on the west side of Manhattan where most of the city's voting booths are stored.
Davis went there intending to photograph the clunky Cold War-era machines in their square-block-sized loft, but instead became interested in the remnants of past elections lying around. He recalls that "this curious little vanitas was shoved over in a corner." The stickers were used to designate Democratic or Republican ballots, and were sitting on a pile of yellow voting registration records. "That act of transformative visual registration—taking something from the flux of visual information and cultural meaning—and shepherding it into thorough, self-aware picturehood, is what my work is all about."
Tim Davis (Born in Blantyre, Malawi, 1969) has been widely exhibited in solo and group shows, and his work can be found in the collections of The Whitney Museum of American Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, all in New York; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland, among others. A recipient of the 2007-08 Joseph H. Hazen Rome Prize, he teaches at Bard College, in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, and lives and works in New York City.