Dexter Davis’s works are widely collected. In 2016, the School of Art Collection and Galleries at the Center for the Visual Arts Gallery, Kent State University, mounted Dexter Davis: A Portrait, a large and impressive survey exhibition. Dexter’s studio practice grows from his relief prints that depict abstracted faces, masks, skulls, and guns. The prints are then cut and torn, and he assembles the fragments along with familiar imagery (shooting range targets are a favorite), or his drawings and paintings into complex collages. Multiple viewpoints, not unlike early Cubism, have the effect of a powerful emotional experience. Dexter’s collages need to be so as they signify memories of extreme violence from Dexter’s harsh childhood years. He’s been a victim of random violence and very recently suffered a bullet wound from a road-rage incident.
Dexter is well known to the art-loving public in his native Cleveland, where he serves as a guard at the Cleveland Museum of Art. His easy smile and sweet nature make museum guests welcome, and if they are lucky, they might hear Dexter discuss his large collage, Black Heads, acquired by the museum in 2011.