Hum is the continuation of a body of work Marley Dawson created for Ghosts, his first international museum solo exhibition at the Phillips Collection, Washington DC in 2021. Responding to the unique domestic environment of the Phillips Collection, which holds some of the most revered paintings of the past 100 years, Hum reflects Dawson’s respectful ambivalence for ‘great art’. Instead, he pays attention to the subtle moments that make experiences memorable: the chair that the docents rest on, the smell of a place where people once smoked, the physics of making a painting. Within Hum is a mechanical wall work inspired by the gravitational painting process of Morris Louis, an artist of the Washington Colour School, whose process was a refutation of the trademark gesture of the Abstract Expressionists.
The wall-mounted sculpture consists of hundreds of brass rods arranged on a brass track that oscillate and shift. Providing an optical and cerebral illusion, Dawson’s work allows for open-ended equations and allusive narratives in which magical shifts of space and form emerge.
“When people talk about Morris Louis and abstract work in general, they often use words like ‘hum.’ The colours vibrate. So the work I made hums and vibrates. It does for me the things that I’m meant to see when I look at a painting.”
Please note: the gallery is currently closed due to Covid-19 restrictions, click here to view the exhibition online.
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