161 Elements plastic 290 x 160 x 250 cm. Executed in 1998
Comprised of an accumulation of plastic bins fused together by a blow-torch, 161 Elements of 1998 manages to evoke not only in scale and colour the heroic monumentality and gestural aspects of the abstract-expressionists, but at the same time imparts a delight in the manipulation of everyday material.
The drippy juxtaposition of colour is suggestive of the work of Jackson Pollock or Sam Francis and the three-dimensionality immediately brings to mind the sculpture of John Chamberlain. However, the banality of the objects transformed harks back to the playfulness of the nouvelles réalistes, Arman and Cesar, who compressed, burned and otherwise altered accumulations of the most mundane items.
Dawson, therefore, comes from a time-honoured tradition that can be traced back to Marcel Duchamp, yet the resulting mutation with its intense appreciation of colour and form offer all the pleasure without the ironic stance that one might expect.