Andrew Dadson | Site for Still Life

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ECU off-campus

Friday, Oct 13, 2017 - 12:00 PM - Sunday, Dec 31, 2017 - 6:00 PM

The Contemporary Art Gallery presents the most comprehensive solo exhibition in a public gallery to date of work by Vancouver-based artist Andrew Dadson.

Dadson’s practice engages with the notion of boundaries in relation to space and time, primarily through investigations with materials, process and abstraction. Comprising new, ambitious large-scale paintings, film and installation, this exhibition presents a major statement by this young artist of propositions core to his practice.

Central to the exhibition is House Plants (2017), a new installation where plant forms are sprayed a single colour and lit by intense daylight lamps, Dadson’s most ambitious work to date. Sitting on a raised platform staged in the gallery, this large-scale piece echoes with contemporary “green” walls in Vancouver’s architecture, hinting at moments when nature is co-opted into urban space, connecting to the remarkable landscape for which Vancouver is arguably best known. For the first time, using a biodegradable white paint instead of previous versions with black paint, the forms dissolve into the gallery environment. The cast shadows of red and blue light introduce colour where there appears to be none, revealing forms that initially seem white-washed away. As the organic matter grows over the duration of the exhibition, the unifying painted colour will crack and splinter. New shoots will emerge to reveal fresh, natural colours, reinforcing Dadson’s key proposition to expose temporary and perceptual shifts.

In addition to this ambitious installation is a series of new monochromatic paintings, demonstrating fresh twists on Dadson’s familiar oeuvre. These large-scale paintings are created with colours that are poured, spread out, layered and scraped towards the edges. The final layer of white leaves glimpses of other colours beneath the surface, in a cross-reference to the tradition of American abstract painting, from Rothko to Reinhardt, and Pollock to Rauschenberg.

The modestly scaled White Restretch with Dirt (2017) is part of an ongoing sequence for Dadson. Here however, instead of colour emerging along its edges, we see hints of earth and mud, creating a visual correspondence to House Plants. Alongside pigment, natural materials have been incorporated to shape and form the piece, reinforcing a connection to landscape and the sense of fluidity inherent in such environments. Nothing including the work itself, Dadson seems to suggest, is ever in stasis.

In contrast to the B.C. Binning Gallery where ideas and forms are presented in all-white, the Alvin Balkind Gallery is painted black and in darkness. Such duality, black/white, on/off, inside/outside, light/shadow, is a device that connects Dadson’s work across each medium. Here we present a newly remade twin 16mm film work; Sunrise/Sunset (2017), displaying the artist’s research into painting techniques in relation to those of photography. Using two projectors that simultaneously show a single film threaded between them, the piece depicts the sun concurrently rising and setting on opposite walls. In an ongoing loop, the space of a day is compressed into a revolving moment. The result is a play on light and dark, presence and absence, a temporary black hole. As well as locating this within the broader cycles of change and renewal, the film smartly continues Dadson’s preoccupation with evolving shifts and the very materiality and processes of making.

About Andrew Dadson