Nov 27 - Dec 22, 2007
In Neil Dawson's recent show at Jonathan Smart Gallery, there are two outstanding bodies of work I want to talk about. Let's call them the Cones and Sweeps, for ease of description.
Pointer's clean outline tapers diametrically to its respective points. But inside that form, another busier and more intricate geometry exists. And this is a filigree or woven lattice of darts - that humble form known to many an idle schoolboy. Here though, with careful rotation and diminishing scale, the dart has more the precision of stealth bomber than anything I managed to glide across the classrooms of my youth. Its form has been lasercut into steel - light yet strong - full of purpose while darting in and out of space.
It is a title that connotes a generous gesture of drawing - the sweep of the hand, or perhaps even the arm full length across space. The measure though, is in the detail. For as in Pointer, each form diminishes or grows to a crescendo according to its place. And each motif can be painted with light, density or shimmer. In Sweep (Silent Advance), darts literally seem to move within clouds and without. And this visual discretion is enhanced by silver paint that at times dissolves their form in reflected light, while at other times announcing their outline with all the natural weight of cut steel.
Sweep (Blue Beams) and Sweep (Girder/Quill) are a dark and pearlescent blue. They project a certain grandeur and majesty, which is I think, a marvelous belittling of the fact that steel I-beams are so casually and convincingly let fly into the swelling sky of our dreams.