The Fugitive Mama, 2009, ink, gouache, watercolor on paper, 30 x 40 in.
American Gothic, 2011, ink, gouache, watercolor on paper, 11 x 17 in.
Second Coming, 2012, ink, gouache and watercolor on paper, 22 x 27 in.
Condemned to the Wild Beasts, 2011, ink, gouache, watercolor on paper mounted on panel, 30 in. x 40 in.
Iron Maiden, 2012, ink, gouache, watercolor on paper, 30 x 40 in.
Perpetual Aegis, 2011, ink, gouache, watercolor on paper, 22 x 30 in.
Prey, 2010, ink, gouache, watercolor on paper, 11 x 11 in.
Siren’s Song, 2010, watercolor on arches, 74 x 50 in.
Three Ages, 2011, ink, gouache, watercolor on paper, 15 x 22 in.
The Magic Foxhole, 2012, ink, gouache,watercolor on paper, 30 x 40 in.
My work examines the practice of masquerade and its role in relation to conceptions of identity and power by depicting scenes of figures meticulously drawn in gouache, watercolor, and ink on paper. The figures in my work are selected from various sources, societies, and time periods and are composed to create a tableaux influenced by the ideas of James Hillman, Joseph Campbell, and mythmaking in general. Campbell’s monomyth is a myth that is found through out the world, familiar to all (as in the hero myth) but with slight cultural/regional nuances. I find monomyths compelling in that they can bring understanding to viewers unfamiliar with other cultural norms. My work does not illustrate any specific myth but seeks to provoke critical thought regarding current attitudes and conflicts within the terms of universal stories.
I am particularly interested in the various permutations of societal practices that engender power hierarchies. The religious and ethnic nuances of power — who are the meek, who are the shameless, and when do the roles interchange? Societal practices of masquerade, uniforms, religious dress, etcetera muddle conceptions of power and identity. It is provoking how a disguise (even a uniform) engenders the wearer powerful through his or her clandestine anonymity. Even more disturbing is the disguise’s paradoxical virtue of allowing the concealed individual to be his or her authentic self. Which identity is authentic, the intrinsic self or the identity acquired through masquerade or do they create a third identity through a blending of the two?
About the Artist
Dawn Black was born in Louisiana and received a BFA from Louisiana State University. She earned both MA and MFA, specializing in Painting and Sculpture, from the University of Iowa School of Art and Art History. She lives and works in Baton Rouge, LA.
In Dawn Black’s most recent work, mysterious ink, gouache, and watercolor works on paper convey unusual narratives that have a suppressed eroticism entwined with ambiguous meditations on death and cycles of human behavior.
Black sources her numerous characters from media sources such as the internet, newspapers, and fashion magazines. Drawing from an ongoing visual archive she calls “Conceal Project”, the artist deliberately plays with scale and negative space to weave open-ended and elliptical visual tales.
posted by Carmelita Caruana