Davin Watne (he/him)

Davin Watne
Assistant Teaching Professor
Humanities and Social Sciences

Contact Info
Fine Arts Building 205B
Art Curation; Fine Art Painting; Art Education


Originally from Morgantown, West Virginia, Davin Watne has taught at UMKC since 2002. Watne’s work includes a wide range of mediums and approaches to artmaking, including sculpture, installation, fashion design, animation, with a primary emphasis in painting.

Davin Watne's artwork investigates the concept of darkness - both the physical absence of natural light and the feeling of foreboding. Darkness is explored as an emotional state, a physical space, and a cultural signifier. His work observes many subjects, currently he is examining contemporary news media. Watne's visual narratives take the "news" to its logical end point of violent implosion. This experience is explored by employing the slow medium of painting. His labor-intensive process negotiates time by re-presenting the continually pregnant moment of the news feed.

Watne also uses the image of roads at night as a juncture in which animals and vehicles collide. These allegorical scenes are cinematic and stark, animals deliver messages while contextualizing violence. The roads are potent metaphors for the Anthropocene, signifying humankinds embrace of technology and subsequent separation from other species. Collisions become the unfortunate complication of progress.

In summary, Watne's artwork is consumed with the aesthetics of power, authority and desire as constructed by governing systems. This awareness pushes him to develop visual means of resistance. In his practice, he communicates images and experiences that are visceral and symbolic in nature, ultimately creating new visual lexicons that combat the prevailing modes of signification.

“Your desire is not your own. Individual taste is subject to societal conditioning. Pleasure becomes managed. In my practice I absorb and dissolve the visual economy of our consumer culture and use the strategies of painting toward material investigations that manifest into sculpture, installation and public intervention. These disciplines are interwoven to create ritualistic experiences that meditate on the complexities of desire.” – Davin Watne

Watne received an Inspiration Grant from ArtsKC in 2007 and was in The Studios Inc. residency program from 2007-2013. He received an Art in the Loop Grant in 2005 and the final piece, Uplifted Arms, done in collaboration with Dylan Mortimer, is currently part of the Public Art Navigator audio tour of public art in downtown Kansas City. Watne received the Charlotte Street Foundation Award in 2003 and was one of six regional artists with temporary public artwork in the Avenue of the Arts in 2001.


M.F.A. from Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD
B.F.A. from Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, MO

Courses Taught

  • Foundation Drawing
  • Foundation 2D Design
  • Foundation 3D Design
  • Painting I


  • UMKC, Arts & Sciences NTT Outstanding Teaching Award 2015
  • You People, group exhibition at Haw Contemporary, Kansas City, MO
  • Temporary public art installation, Capital Myth, group exhibition in Cardiff, England
  • 10th National Juried Exhibition, group exhibition at Axis Gallery, Sacramento, CA