Black Heads

War series

Black Heads


Dexter Davis

(American, b. 1965)

Collage of prints (woodcut, etching and aquatint, stencil, and Xerox), charcoal, marker, crayon, pastel, gesso, paint, and found objects

Support: Heavy weight machine-made Lennox paper

Sheet: 126.5 x 96.6 cm (49 13/16 x 38 1/16 in.)

Dudley P. Allen Fund 2011.38



Black Heads depicts a monster whose one eye is a target. Embryos float above a row of sharp teeth, their innate innocence corrupted by the gun inside of each. Incorporated into the top of the collage is a portion of Icarus, a print by H. Carroll Cassill, Davis’s printmaking instructor at the Cleveland Institute of Art. It was salvaged from a fire that destroyed almost all of Davis’s work and possessions. In Greek mythology Daedalus fashioned wings from feathers and wax for his son, Icarus, warning him not to fly too close to the sun. Icarus ignored his father’s advice and fell to his death as the wax melted. "The symbolism of the story and its parallel with my own life was scary," Davis said. "But I am still trying to reach the heavens."

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