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Verne Dawson

Born 1961 in Meridianville, Alabama
Lives and works in Saluda, North Carolina and New York, New York

Verne Dawson investigates the continuities between ancient culture and contemporary life through myths, folktales, and traditions that have vanished or become detached from their origins and meanings. Dawson is also concerned that we have lost our connection to the natural rhythms that governed our ancestors’ lives. In Pagans, on view in 2010, he explores multiple traditions invented to explain natural phenomena, particularly those relating to astronomy. On the four sides of the canvas, each season is represented by its corresponding modern-day pagan figure: winter is represented by Santa Claus, spring by the fool, summer by the Green Man, and fall by death or Dracula. They hold playing cards representing their calendrical significance. Also represented, among others, are Mother Goose, Little Red Riding Hood, Mary and her lamb, Jack and his beanstalk, Jack and Jill, the three men in a tub, Old Mother Hubbard’s shoe and her children, and Jason’s ship Argo. At once utopian and apocalyptic, Pagans combines myths and fairytales to argue for the regenerative qualities of a culture in harmony with nature.

Read about the artist

Art in Review; Verne Dawson
New York Times (June 2009)

Art Review: Verne Dawson
Time Out New York (June 2009)

Verne Dawson at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise
Whitewall (May 2009)

Picks: Verne Dawson
Artforum (January 2004; note: registration required)

Celestial Bodies
Frieze (August 2002)

Primordial Seasonings
Village Voice_(June 2001)

Eternal Returns: The Art of Verne Dawson
Artforum_(November 2001; via findarticles.com)

Review: Verne Dawson
Frieze
(May 1999)