Verne Dawson: Apalachicola to Zirconia
An exhibition of new work, in the artist's third show with the gallery. An inherent storyteller, Dawson is a painter of landscapes, portraits, calendars, allegory, myth and pre-history - often in regard to astronomy and mathematics. He weaves together elaborate narratives in his paintings that entwine the legend of the past with a discourse of the present, and in the case of the works on view here, a glimpse of a possible future.
The paintings and works on paper in Apalachicola to Zirconia are reflections on the geographic region and route taken by the Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto on his second and fatal expedition through the American Southeast, ostensibly searching for a fountain of youth. Time collapses as past, present and future are represented in oil paintings that obey a non-linear chronology; they stand simultaneously as a visualising of the past, and as a perception of the present from an imagined future, where the natural and man-made retain a more balanced co-existence. Some of the works' imagery springs from the artist's imagination, while others are unmediated observations of intimates: a self-portrait, or one of his wife beside a stream. Characteristic of Dawson's practice, these works present an exploration of the continuities of nature and civilization, and a belief in the enduring vitality of beauty and painting as a primary form of visceral and visual communication.