The Theft of Fire, Expulsion & Mudslide
The Theft of Fire, Expulsion & Mudslide is a two-venue exhibition by Verne Dawson, at Gavin Brown’s enterprise and Galerie Eva Presenhuber. It is Verne’s tenth solo show with Gavin Brown. His first took place in 1995.
Dawson has been described as a narrative painter; frequently taking recognizable tales from mythology, religion, and folklore as his subjects. His paintings, though, are not only narrative, but narratalogical – examining the significance and recurrence of certain stories, even proffering a continuity of culture from the dawn of man to our modern moment. The personal becomes epic, and vice versa: a painting titled Expulsion illustrates the artist’s own experience being repeatedly kicked off of a lake by a private security service, after having regularly swum there for nearly 40 years. The title, as well as the picture, draw on comparative mythology, harkening to Adam and Eve’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden.
Dawson's work is informed by an impressive knowledge of art from prehistory to the present; the history of painting is both playground and reference library. He maintains an interest in early sciences - especially astronomy and timekeeping - and revels in their legacies as manifest in contemporary life.
At the core of Dawson’s artistry is an idiosyncratic and deeply-held set of convictions about nature, spirituality, and humanity – a belief that beauty gives meaning to life, that painting can be a devotional act.
Verne Dawson has exhibited widely internationally and has been the subject of monographic shows at Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin; Le Consortium, Dijon; Camden Arts Centre, London and Kunsthalle, Zurich. Dawson‘s work has been featured in significant international exhibitions such as the 2011 Yokohama Triennial, the 2010 Whitney Biennial, the 2006 Lyon Biennial, 2003 Venice Biennial and has been presented at venues such as Palais de Tokyo, Paris, The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and Musée d‘Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. A new beautifully illustrated monograph of Dawson’s work will be published by Lund Humphries as part of their Contemporary Painters Series in March 2019.