On March 4, James Ratliff Gallery will present an exhibition of new paintings by John Dawson. "Lavender Days and Indigo Nights" debuts from 5 - 8 p.m, Friday, March 4 and continues through March 18.
The artist will be present and address the public at 6 p.m. March 4.
James Ratliff Gallery is located in Hillside Sedona, Suites AST 1 & 2, 671 State Highway 179.
Nationally known for his provocative oil on canvas portraits Dawson creates startlingly elegant paintings which often evoke strong reactions from viewers.
Being an inveterate reader, John Dawson frequents the annals of history or today's world and its leading figures for his subject matter. In this March exhibition, Dawson will introduce two 4 x 4 companion piece portraits of DaVinci and Michelangelo. They are not necessarily a diptych but could be exhibited together. And by reaching into the heritage of the Old Masters, Dawson sometimes will surprise us by combining traditional still life with his enigmatic figures.
Master experimenter too, Dawson has recently begun painting on wood panels. The types of wood panels Dawson uses are birch or red oak. For Dawson, these woods offer the subtle textures he prefers.
Varnishing makes the wood darker and when using colored pencil the darker wood allows the pencil colors to really "pop."
And viewers note that smaller pieces of attached wood or artist panel become "commentary drawings" adding their own information to the theme of the painting as a whole.
Whether it's figures painted in oil on canvas, colored pencil on wood, mixed media drawings, monoprints, etchings, or linoleum block, there's often a three-dimensional effect.
Referring to his choice of careers Dawson comments ... "The only reason I do it is because it's fun." Being raised in a family of business owners John was expected to become part of that tradition but remained true to himself and followed his own ideas ... a life which for him has proven to be fun. His undeniable talent was fostered at an early age. A young John Dawson was provided art lessons at the prestigious Chicago Art Institute and from this began the long career which has led to his worldwide success.
In addition to museum shows, there have been innumerable published articles written about John and his painting processes.
His is a most unique approach to his subject matter and never elicits just a "ho hum" from viewers.
There will always be that je ne sais quoi about any Dawson work that is always a stamp of the artist causing a gravitational, dramatic, and sometimes alarming, encounter. Listening to Dawson discuss his work, it's astounding how engaged, fun-loving, and demanding he is of himself, his media, and his subject matter ... hardly the stereotype of the beret-toqued artiste, palate in hand, tucked away in his garret.
For further information, contact the James Ratliff Gallery at 928-282-1404 or e-mail at FineArt@jamesratliffgallery.com; www.jamesratliffgallery.com.