When one encounters an abstract painting with goopy paint and an expressionist hand, it is still hard not to be seduced by the sheer beauty of it. But in a day when even painting has to be smart, it is always a relief to find someone making objects that make you rethink your relationship to the world, not to mention your relationship to paint itself. On view at Lawrimore Project in Seattle, Washington is new work by Vancouver-based artist, Andrew Dadson. Although an artist whose work often explores performative actions, Dadson’s new paintings seamlessly merge the beauty and seduction of painting with the defiance of painting itself. The aggressivity and expressionistic qualities of the thick colorful paint obscured by the smoothness of the warm black layer over top references the depth and emotion of Rothko’s beautiful colorfield paintings. Yet much of his work allows black to become the aggressor – obscuring or acting against the layers underneath.
What is surprising about Dadson’s work is that the obscuring in his painting adds to the layers of meaning within his other actions. The layering in the paint actually informs his other work – giving a visual and emotive parallel to his actions – like one of his “outdoor paintings,” Black Painted Lawn with White Fence (2006), where he illegally paints someone’s lawn black. This results in the layering and obscuring in painting reaching to the obfuscation of rights and property in our culture. What is seemingly beautiful becomes something aggressive.
Andrew Dadson’s work will be on view in Seattle through June 26th. He has exhibited with The Apartment and Or Gallery in Vancouver, Slaughterhousespace, in Healdsburg, California and Galleria Franco Noero, Torino, Italy. He received his BFA in Integrated Media from Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in Vancouver in 2003.