59 Lynn Anstey Davison

"Things appeal to you. I don't know why they do. They just do . . . To me, it just has to work as a painting. I want to hit the gut. I want people to think and feel."

Lynn Davison is an enigmatic painter from Naples, Florida, whose work varies in style from realist to a deep, dark expressionism, and has been described as 'puzzling realism'. Lynn paints mysteries and never explains them. The closest she gives is to speak generally about her work (Sarasota Visual Art, 2012):

“The human figure has always been the primary focus of my painting. I want my figures to provoke introspection. While they are essentially a revelation of self, I hope they begin to portray, in some universal way, certain truth about what it can mean to be human, exposed, disconnected, and vulnerable. Lately, I find myself mostly interested in men and women at odds with each other but totally depending on the other. My husband retired five years ago, so I am having to learn to share my space and time.”

'Party Time', 2009

It's a bit of a challenge learning about Lynn's life, as her website has no biography. According to this blog, she was born in St. Albans, Vermont. She graduated from Ringling College of Art & Design. She has exhibited her work around the US, but mostly in and around Florida, and her work is in several permanent collections in museums and universities. She's been awarded four art fellowships, three from the Florida Arts Council and one from the National Endowment. But, much of her life seems as puzzling as her art, which may be the way she wants it. I know from this article by Janice Paine (Naples Daily News, 2011) that she has a daughter, and that her theater work was an inspiration for some of Lynn's art:

'Under the Lights'

And I learned from this article (also Janice Paine, this time for Gulf Shore Life) that she and her family (her husband is also named Lynn) have lived in Naples, FL for four decades. She told the reporter, "“I’m dull. No one knows I’m an artist. [We] are really hermits.”

'White Shirt Black Shirt'

Lynn continues, “I do things to please myself, to solve the problems I set up for myself in the painting. You’re always trying to let what comes, come, rather than trying to force things. You go through periods in your work. You’re not the same person you were 30 or 40 years ago. Your interests change. As you work day by day, things evolve, and you just sort of go with it.”

'White Shirt'

In the same article, Lynn is quoted as saying, "You do these things to see if you can. I really like to try different media and materials to see what I can do with them and what they're going to lead to."

She also explains why she uses herself primarily as a model, "I'm much more loose with myself. I can do with myself what I wouldn't do to others."

'That Darn Cat'

Art consultant Barbara Hill says of Lynn's work (Paine, 2011):

"I think she is brutally honest in the way she approaches the figure," Hill says. "The figure is not romanticized. It's not idealized. It's not necessarily pretty work. It's not aesthetically pleasing as something you can put over the living room sofa. It's sort of in the style of Balthus, Eric Fischl, Odd Nerdrum, of artists using the figure as a way to better understand human nature."

Note: These links contain nudity

'Minding the Body'

'Trying to Keep a Good Man Down'

'M's Back'

'Yellow Ribbon'

'Back to Back'

'My Thursday Man'



'Nicholas 3'

'We Need a Hug'


'Pink Fedora'

'A Smile for Tommy'

'Leaning White'

'She's Safe'