N. Dash: and Water
SITE SANTA FE presents and Water, a solo exhibition of recent works by N. Dash featuring the spare, ecologically driven paintings for which the artist has become internationally known.
The new paintings in the exhibition highlight some of the artist’s most significant aesthetic and conceptual approaches: harnessing the interaction of earth and water to create vertical topographical fields of desiccated mud; layering commercial printing technology onto the paintings’ prepared grounds; and arranging readymade found objects and industrial detritus—water bottles, agricultural netting, architectural insulation—alongside natural materials. Dash’s “fabric sculptures,” diminutive forms created when the artist rubs pieces of cloth to the point of disintegration, also appear in these works as silkscreened images. These idiosyncratic, somatic sculptures are potent emblems of entropy, complexity, and change. Dash’s work draws from a deep connection to the land and an awareness of environmental and material transformations. Often beginning with troweled base layers of excavated earth, the artist then aggregates numerous materials and processes on these grounds to create complex visual terrains. Works on view in and Water feature expanses of graphite burnished to radiance; strata of earth cut through by lengths of string; and layers of silkscreen ink that reproduce color fields of rosettes—a visual artifact resembling floral blooms formed during the mechanical halftone printing process—as well as images of Dash’s fabric sculptures enlarged to monumental proportions.
Though Dash’s work is conversant with lineages such as post-Minimalism, Land Art, and Arte Povera, the center of Dash’s work lies not in mining historical precedents but rather in a steadfast commitment to exploring subtle energy systems and unseen elemental processes. Animated by the underlying tension between the industrially produced and the handmade, Dash’s practice harnesses the unpredictability of natural materials and transmutes their potent energies.