My drawings explore my own mania regarding “authentic” identity and of society’s at large by depicting scenes of figures meticulously drawn in gouache, watercolor, and ink on paper. These figures are all "found", being culled from the Internet and various periodicals. Selecting real figures from the past and present and then arranging those figures into a single composition has the effect of condensing time and is influenced by the ideas of mythologist, Joseph Campbell. Particularly Campbell’s conception of “monomyths”, universal myths found throughout the world with slight cultural variations (such as the hero myth or the myth of the flood). The hero is one of the numerous archetypes (meaning a universal figure, such as a “hero” or a “mother”) that I use in my paintings to describe universal truths regarding one’s identity and the nuanced relationships of various identities within society. The figure’s ambiguous relationships then become intertwined with the viewer’s personal beliefs regarding the authentic and the covert, the formidable and the meek, the sincere and the false witness and are intended to invoke the aura of a universal myth or a cautionary tale while exploring, satirizing, and critiquing current events and social conventions.
Another ongoing body of work is the Conceal Project, which is an array of persons whose concealments vastly range from masquerade to disfigurement. Conceived as a cataloging of universal characters or archetypes, the project currently comprises 160 such figures (each drawn on a piece of 7½” x 5½” paper) and I am continuing to add more. Figures from the Conceal Project are often seen in my narrative paintings mentioned above.
Artist Bio / CV
Dawn Black was born in Louisiana where she received a BFA (1997) from Louisiana State University. She earned both MA (2000) and MFA (2001) from the University of Iowa School of Art and Art History. Black has been teaching painting and drawing at the University and Community College level since 1999. She recently relocated from San Francisco, California by way of Durham, North Carolina to Baton Rouge, Louisiana with her husband, Andrew, and dog, Newt.