Victoria Miro Gallery is delighted to present new works by American artist Verne Dawson. The exhibition comprises a series of seven paintings depicting the days of the week; two large paintings, horizontal and vertical respectively, of the fairytales of Red Riding Hood and Jack and the Beanstalk; and three new works from an ongoing series of numerical paintings.
Dawson’s work weaves the prehistoric past into the present embracing a vast history of some 30,000 years and expressing a long held interest in charting the continuities of human nature and culture. A painter of both fantastical landscapes and the cosmos he explores the attraction of ritual across ages and cultures. Despite a preoccupation with symbolic reference, Dawson’s visual language does not attempt to idealise his subject matter. Rather, his painting style is self-effacing and grounded in the vernacular, offering careful consideration of narrative through composition and detail.
In the seven days of the week series each painting is aligned to the planets and celestial bodies, affirming their astronomical personifications - Sun(day), Moon(day), Mars (Mardi), Mercury (Mercredi), Jupiter (Thor for Jeudi), Venus (Vendredi), Saturn(day). The works propose how the rhythms of life, religion and tradition are predicated on the movements of the sun, moon, planets and stars. This correlation - a constant unchanged for thousands of years - offers a thread of shared tradition throughout the natural world.
In the fairytale paintings Dawson considers how oral traditions perpetuate prehistoric knowledge of time and methods of time-keeping. Delving into folklore and popular culture, Dawson paints Little Red Riding Hood as a tale of lunar eclipse and Jack and the Beanstalk as a tale of the solstice. Three numerical paintings, “9”, “108” and “432” refer to the powerful significance of certain numbers in the astronomical calendar.
Born in 1961 Verne Dawson divides his time between New York, Pennsylvania and Paris. In recent years he has exhibited at the Camden Arts Centre, London, Kunsthalle, Zurich, the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, and The Royal Academy, London. His work was included in the 2005 Biennale de Lyon and a survey of his work is currently on view at le Consortium in Dijon.