“Painting does something to your soul that nothing else can,” said the late Noah Davis. “It’s visceral and immediate and is always readdressed in new ways that keep it relevant.” Davis died in 2015, only 32, leaving behind his moody and poignant paintings. He looked at vintage photographs from African-American culture, and with casual brushworks painted eerie, sometimes surreal, images: a girl in an elephant mask; two youths on a sofa, lying listlessly. Phantoms and mystic figures tell lonely, tender stories in these paintings. Davis created the Underground Museum, an artist space for art and culture in Los Angeles’s Black and Latinx neighborhood. His untimely death meant he didn’t live to see his project blossom. His soulful, emotive works, often modest in scale, are on view in this exhibition. —E.C.