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Jennifer Davis is a Minneapolis-based artist known for her colorful and imaginative paintings of surreal and whimsical characters. Over the past 20 years, she has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions at venues such as The Minneapolis Institute of Arts (Minneapolis, MN); The DeVos Art Museum (Marquette, MI); Foster Museum (Eau Claire, WI); Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History (Santa Cruz, CA); The Lesher Center for the Arts (San Francisco, CA); and ArtSpace (Raleigh, NC); as well as several galleries in major cities across the United States, Canada, and Europe, most recently at Frock Gallery in Ypres, Belgium. Davis was a recipient of the 2013 Next Step Fund Grant from the Minnesota Regional Arts Council/McKnight Foundation and a printmaking residency at the Lawrence Art Center (KS) in 2016. She created the set design for the Walker Art Center-funded dance and musical performance “Stripe Tease” and toured with the cast for on-site installations in eight US cities. She holds a BFA from the University of Minnesota.

With a central focus on small-scale 2D painting, Davis also dabbles in other mediums such as painted sculpture, printmaking, collage, toy design (Djeco Toy Co.), and custom pet portraits. Recently, she has scaled up her designs for murals at ARC of East Central Iowa (Cedar Rapids, IA); Metro Transit (Minneapolis, MN); ProStop (St.Paul, MN); Hai Hai Restaurant (Minneapolis, MN); Herbie’s Fried Chicken (Minneapolis, MN); Trapeze Champagne Bar (Minneapolis, MN), My Very Own Bed (Minneapolis, MN) and others; and mechanical sculptural installations at Can Can Wonderland (St. Paul.) Her paintings have been featured in periodicals such as Juxtapoz, Beautiful Decay, Uppercase, and ReadyMade, as well as books published by Chronicle Books, Watson Guptill Publications, Spout Press, Milkweed Editions, and others. Her work has been reviewed by The New York Times, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Austin Chronicle, and Boston Herald, among others. Davis is also an accomplished illustrator with clients including Djeco Toy Co, Chinook Book, Backwaters Press, Root & Star Magazine, Spirituality & Health Magazine, City Pages, Rosedale Shopping Center, Growler, and many album covers.

"Minneapolis-based painter Jennifer Davis possesses a highly developed sensibility for pattern and color, creating an almost tangible world of strange creatures that seem to live and breathe, despite their simplified forms."

- Juxtapoz


"Endlessly inventive and gently strange, her characters are simultaneously unsettling and endlessly appealing. With tiny eyes and zipper mouths, they bumble haplessly about, falling into dreamy reveries or tumbling into ponds. Davis' endlessly fertile imagination is well served by her linear style and pale palette."

- Minneapolis Star Tribune

"Jennifer’s paintings speak first to her fantastic sense of humor, but they linger in the mind because of her extraordinary sense of color and design. The lines and forms that compose her painted worlds are abstractions from our material world but are more elegant than simple cartoons. Her characters are filled with life, whimsy, and theatrical energy. They engage the viewer with an invitation to come and smile. Jennifer’s paintings are like postcards from another more fabulous world."

- Frock Gallery, Ypres, Belgium


"It can be said that her paintings are self-portraits, but not in any staid sense of the word. She appears in each composition—like an avatar of many guises—her primary incarnation as a wide-eyed girl who is mild yet ever-vigilant. She is patient with aliens, a friend to plants and animals; always serving as a protector for the meek and those who can not run. She is, indeed, the mistress of her domain."

- C. Randall, Executive Director of Swansong Gallery


"From grooming pets to enjoying the humor of an orange slice, or the curious foliage of a houseplant, these images are a celebration of the simple pleasures in life"

- Annah Lee, Director of Artistic Programs at Artspace

Land acknowledgment: I feel compelled to mention this and I hope it doesn't seem clunky or performative. I think this is important.

I live and work in Mni Sota Makoce (Minnesota) the traditional homeland of the Dakhóta Oyáte (Dakota People -who have lived here for thousands of years) which was unfairly ceded in the Treaties of 1837/1851. The Ojibwe and other Indigenous nations have cared for this land as well. 

The home studio of Minneapolis Artist Jennifer Davis featuring her desk, worktable, a sofa and a wall of colorful paintings.
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