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Artlyst: Contemporary Artists In The Spotlight 2023 – Nico Kos-Earle

9. Dawn Dudek

Opening her solo show DISTANCE + DISPLACEMENT in February at the Gallery 25 ECU in Perth, Dawn Dudek is a multidisciplinary artist whose practice is deeply entwined with the landscape that defined her journey as an artist of residence. Comprised of paintings, large-scale photographic and time-based works, this series began in the summer of 2018 in Northwestern Ontario, Canada and continued in the forests of Western Australia in 2020. The Sointula Art Shed on Malcolm Island culminates on her return to Freemantle. This slow, transcontinental project is about boundaries, about striking out of the screened environment into an unknown (yet familiar) wilderness – and staying with it. “The paintings become windows onto themes of presence and absence, matter and void,” says the artist. Beginning with painting – from photographs taken in the forest – each canvas has a circular cut-out, like a viewfinder. Dudek returns to the forest and documents the paintings in their respective habitats. They raise questions about originality and ways of seeing, relevant in the age of Photoshop and digitally altered images. Viewed online, we stare into multiple windows nestled into our various screens.

This follows the success of her series Filmscapes and If you love it so much…, exploring her relationship with the moving image, the internet and memory. Many of her Filmscapes capture motion suspended: women running (M. escapes to dream, William in pursuit), couples falling (Fire and Ice), or poised before a kiss (Secreto, Saving Clementine). If the narrative of a film is conveyed through a sequence of moving images, these paintings focus on a single moment and how this resonates privately. If you love it so much might be seen as a digital self-portrait. “Through painting, I explore how we consume and take ownership of online images.” Next, in London, Dawn collaborates with fine art photographer Andrea Hamilton on a series of intimate paintings based on lost weather words, questioning how we connect our internal emotions to the outside world.

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