Christine Davis was born in Vancouver. Davis has lived in Prince George, Ann Arbor, Lusaka, Paris, Toronto and New York. After graduating from York University (Toronto) she attended the Collège international de philosophie (Paris). Davis has served on the board of directors of The Power Plant (Toronto) and YYZ Artists' Outlet (Toronto). As a founding editor of the interdisciplinary journal Public: Art/Culture/Ideas her editorial work intersects with the research driving her practice. Davis is a researcher with the Centre for Integrative Bio- Engineering Research at Simon Fraser University.
Scientific visualization is a core component of her work. Modes of seeing, classifying and producing both scientific and cultural knowledge, often tied to the feminine and the natural world, underpin many projects. Through a cosmological impulse Davis’ installations seem to propose that meanings from disparate historical and pedagogical contexts overlap and are released slowly over long periods of time. In a recently published interview the artist states, “[I] find the process of breaking things down into components of different ‘orders’ a way to immerse myself in a given field. Each work or project has a distinct set of conditions that require the development of a unique material and conceptual language… I am trying to weave a cosmology that includes subjective human values and propositions about how things work.” In her work "Tlön, or How I held in my hands a vast methodical fragment of an unknown planet’s entire history” (exhibited at the Musee de Beaux Arts de Montreal) documentation of the heavens and classification of wildlife are overlaid in a system of ordering and symmetry that is at once mystical and sadistic, absurd and universal.
For Press/Enter: Between Seduction and Disbelief, the milestone exhibition on emerging interactive technologies curated by The Power Plant in 1995, Davis laser etched words onto contact lenses. Working with lasers developed for Candarm her project linked the Spanish Inquisition to the birth of televised trials to explore “the lens or film-screen upon which is condensed the trauma of history.” (Buci- Glucksmann). In 2000 she participated in the touring exhibition Paradise Now: Creating the Genetic Revolution (Exit Art, NYC). Working with a molecular biologist at the University of Toronto she produced a series of woven code garments that link genetics and information theory. During her residency at York University’s “Future Cinema Lab” in 2010 she created Satellite Ballet (for Lois Fuller), an animated short for cell phones. The work was exhibited at the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal. In the exhibition catalogue film scholar Olivier Asselin notes, “Davis’ work establishes a link between artistic abstraction and scientific abstraction – between formal abstraction and conceptual abstraction. [F]orm is chaotic; it is one of those complex phenomena, like climate change and liquid turbulence, which are determinate, but non-linear, and, as a result, remain largely unpredictable. As such, it prompts an epistemological reflection on the complexity of the sensible and the limits of the concept… from this perspective, her work is archaeological.”
Her work sheds light on the fundamental epistemological questions of our time, where knowledge is continuously diffused, reproduced and diversified through complex information and communication modalities. Moving between photography, sculpture, film and collage, Davis’ artistic practice resists categorization, maintaining a consistent methodology and exploratory material process. She discusses her distinct methodology in “Machines for Thinking.” https://www.asymptotejournal.com/visual/christine-davis-machines-for-thinking/
Exhibiting since 1987 public venues include; Frankfurter Kunstverein, The Power Plant (Toronto), Musée d'Art Contemporain de Montréal, Musée de beaux arts de Montreal, Art Gallery of Ontario, Vancouver Art Gallery, Kunsthalle Munich, Haus am Waldsee(Berlin), Kunsthalle Bielefeld, Seoul Museum of Art, New Museum (New York), Presentation House (Vancouver), Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography (Ottawa), National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa), Art Gallery of Winnipeg, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Tang Teaching Museum (New York), Carnegie Mellon University, Art Metropole (Toronto), Le Confort Moderne (Poitiers), Victoria and Albert Museum, and Exit Art (New York). Her work is held in numerous collections including the National Gallery of Canada, Le Muse d’Art Contemporain de Montréal, Collection Helga de Alvear and the Yvon Lambert Collection Avignon. Publications on her work include monographs published by CREDAC (Paris), MACM (Montreal), AGO (Toronto) and Presentation House (Vancouver).