Volume 92, Issue 50
Wednesday, December 2, 1998
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
The Dawn of an artist
By Christina Vardanis
In the case of Kim Dawn's master of fine arts thesis show, Please, an exercise in the abstract turns into a passage through the psyche of a developing artist.
Last week, Dawn lined the four walls of the John Labatt Visual Arts Centre's ArtLab with hanging sheets of paper on which a female form holding a bouquet was repeatedly sketched. Her fascinating use of colour and mode of presentation create a progression within the drawn character which mirrors the subconscious of not only Dawn but all who view the display. The result is a brilliant illumination of the common emotional links between people which unconsciously survive in a society which strongly promotes isolation.
Each of her drawings is coloured with paint which appears watered down and faded. The only strong colour used in the show is a deep blood red which predominantly accents only one of the sketches and intersperses the rest of the show. The colours are used in an abstract manner, splashed carelessly yet purposely all over the sheets.
When looked at from afar, the use of blue and orange shades made the show look colourful and alive. However, when each individual sketch is looked at separately, the paleness of the colours make the figure look drained and tainted.
By allowing the hues to seemingly leak and mix over the drawings, some sketches look unfinished, while some appear to have been left out in the rain. This creates a spooky, cold atmosphere and counteracts the warm effect the range of colours had from afar. This carefully constructed duality is a theme which surfaces in other aspects of the show.
The sketch which inhabited the centre of the room sported the most red, distributed in slashing strokes over the body of the figure. While the vibrant colour added life to the show's faded context, its nature couldn't help but give off the impression of wounds. Coupled with the abandoned direction of the exhibit, this single sketch contributed to the ambiance by suggesting the presence of an injured or lost soul.
Dawn's aggressive technique of decorating her sketches with colour also apply to the actual sketches themselves. The loose form presented was that of a young female, hair pulled up to one side and wearing a dress. However, facial details do not exist and parts of her body were consistently disproportioned in the series.
Two of the sketches were presented in only their charcoal and pencil form, with no use of colour. This provided a useful reference point from which to understand the distortion of the other sketches.
Most notably distorted is the face. Some of the faces are recognizable, others are just a series of lines atop a figure's body. When looked at from sketch to sketch, the progressive perversion of the face is symbolic of the multiple personalities which dwell within everyone.
Dawn has added a background soundtrack which includes her own contorted rendition of Bonnie Tyler's '80s hit "Total Eclipse of the Heart." At times gentle and at times painful, the song adds another dimension to the visual journey presented.
By boldly utilizing colour, imagery and sound, Dawn's exhibit can't help but infect the viewer's soul with the sense of both mystery and familiarity.
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