Sam Davis is a conceptual artist, sculptor and photographer who creates images that reference his love of family and American history (his father had once been a participant in an atomic test during the 1950’s, while other family members worked on the first submarines during the civil war). He couples his investigations of the past with a playful curiosity of popular and kitsch culture. His images combine obscure technology, science fiction and childhood fantasy to call into question notions regarding memory, nostalgia, imagination and pulp/cyber folklore.
Davis creates images that call reality into question, providing a pathway for the viewer into proactively imagining. Making many of his own props, Davis then documents his narratives using alternative and historic photographic processes, including wetplate collodion, albumen printing, becquerel daguerreotyping, dryplate negative and dryplate positive and custom pinhole camera photography.
Davis’ visits to the Mystery Ranch and vicinity began in the early 2000s, during his tenure as an MFA student at University of Nevada, Las Vegas. His use of the landscape is more than superficial background — the desert is a major character in his epic stories of exploration, tragedy and heroism.