The question need not be trouble for art. The more troubling questions of our time; existence, ennui, meaning, distinction, progression, need not trouble those who simply (like most of us) choose to follow a predetermined system. But the ability to create our own meaning confers the ability to slip out of knots and out from under rocks that might otherwise trap us. To assume new meanings, to leave it undefined, to be positively and happily ambivalent is a great joy. No visibility, no presence of the authorities can survive. It all has to be blacked out.
At Lawrimore Project in Seattle, Andrew Dadson understands. His exhibition of new works (the fumes of freshly dolloped oil paint fill the gallery) continues in this mode of blacking out content in favor of chance.
Each piece exhibited repeats the vital blacking out so that new content could manifest. Dadson’s borrows the graffiti technique of buffing, or covering previous images in blocks of thick opaque paint, though good old-fashioned redaction might strike here as well. The work Voter’s Ink, all works 2010, comprised of the ink from the recent Iraqi elections uses the signature of democracy as a beginning for a clean (albeit dark) slate that absolutely burns with deep umber tones. The worst form of government except for all the others retains its presence in ink and paper.
Plank Lean Painting #2 represents the tactic more aggressively, covering what appears to be an Abstract-Expressionist or Color Field painting with a thick rich coat of warm black paint. The impastoed and iridescent edges expose that this blank, black field has been imposed. For Dadson, nothingness is a positive concept.
Exhibited alongside his paintings, Visible Heavens, makes use of two projectors to repeat 255 variations on the same photocopy of a star chart from a late 19th century publication. In this case, the white noise effect of continuous repetition stood in for the literal blanking exhibited in Plank and Dadson’s other small painting in the exhibition, Untitled. The thick crust of seeping colored paint along the edges looked like it was being consumed by the still-sticky black, which radiate and vibrate off Dadson's canvases, creating new types of positive space in the process. A white cube with black holes.
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