I grew up in rural West Virginia, a state devastated by coal mining. My sister and I used to play in abandoned strip mines as children. At a young age I became aware of the often confusing and uneasy relationship between the economic need for energy and preserving the environment we all depend on. These conflicting attitudes toward land use caused me to question how humans attempt to control nature. My artistic practice has led me to explore this conflict in several ways. My earlier work explored such concepts as human/animal collisions and civilization’s failed attempts to conquer nature. Through the use of image manipulation and material investigation, I uncovered ways in which people deny their connection to nature and the consequences of that denial.
Currently, I am exploring the idea of people’s denial and unawareness of their own biological nature and how the marketplace uses those unconscious urges to sell products. I am interested in consumer products that are marketed to enhance our appearance (hair extensions, accessories, stockings etc.) and I use these products as the raw material to create sculptures that mimic seduction, courtship and procreation as seen in our culture and in nature. The sculptures create a visual language that unpacks the rituals of seduction and celebrates a manufactured consumer desire, inadvertently exposing a deeper understanding of our biological yet salacious behaviors.
My paintings depict the darker side of consumer desire. They illustrate the great lengths we will go through to have the things we want. I also feel that my paintings highlight the ignored detritus that floats in the backwaters of our conscience. As corporate marketing and advertisers have tapped into deep emotions of desire and entitlement, they leave consumers with tough moral and ethical choices about labor, human rights abuses, and deadly environmental costs.
Davin Watne is an artist based in Kansas City with an established record of professional achievement. He received his BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and his MFA at Maryland Institute College of Art. He has been awarded the Charlotte Street Foundation Award, ArtsKC Inspiration Grant, Avenue of Arts Municipal Arts Grant, Art in the Loop Public Arts Grant and is a resident of the Studios Inc. Residency Program. Davin holds a fulltime lecturer position at University of Missouri Kansas City where he teaches 2D design foundations.