For “Until it reached into our lives and destroyed the tranquility that we had,” Davis and curator Mike Maizels, assistant professor of art history at the University of Arkansas, conducted extensive archival research and fieldwork at various sites in western Arkansas connected to covert military training, money laundering, drug smuggling, and arms trafficking. This fieldwork included taking a recon flight over the region’s Ouachita National Forest and trekking into the forest in search of covert aistrips and drop-sites. Davis also conducted interviews with Arkansas residents who first-handedly investigated or witnessed some of the clandestine events, including a former Green Party Senate candidate and activist and an aviator who worked and flew from the Mena Intermountain Airport in 1980s. The research led to discoveries, including the frame of a windsock in a remote field, corroborating the location of a former covert airstrip in the Ouachita National Forest.
The event includes a film, photographs, and sculptures made from materials extracted from the remote Arkansas sites Davis journeyed to — earth hauled from runways, water scooped from Fourche La Fave River, spare parts and airplane windows mined from the Mena Intermountain Regional Airport aviation junkyard.
“Until it reached into our lives and destroyed the tranquility that we had" had its world premiere at the University of Arkansas Fine Arts Center Gallery in August 2018, The project is generously supported by the University of Arkansas School of Art, the University of Arkansas Humanities Committee, the Fine Arts Center Gallery and the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation.
Matty Davis’ work has been presented by the Art Institute of Chicago, the Max Ernst Museum, Steppenwolf Theater, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Judson Church, the 92nd St. Y, the Watermill Center, and the Arts Arena in Paris, among others. Apart from his own work, Davis has collaborated with Hito Steyerl, participated in Performa13 with Guido van der Werve and in Performa15 with David Hallberg and Francesco Vezzoli, and performed works by Tino Sehgal and Andy de Groat. He was the recipient of 2016 Edward F. Albee Foundation Fellowship, and recently selected as 1 of 25 artists to watch in 2019 by Dance Magazine. For more information visit www.mattydavis.net