Sunday, October 28, 2012

Dawn Frasch

Dawn holding her loyal studiomate, Bacon!

There is such a complete sensory overload in Dawn's maximalist paintings, that I began noticing so many specific details later in the photographs I had taken that I had missed during our visit! I love Dawn's fusion of the art historical with the Slasher film aesthetic. There is a levity and a self-awareness to the gore that Dawn orchestrates, and just as for Godard, "It's not blood, it's some red."

Is that a green, pig-faced, absinthe-cherub-demon having a make-out take-out with a dolphin? Why, yes it is!!! Upon further inspection, this scene turns out to be a menage trois between a dolphin, a cherub, and a cherub demon!! As you may already know, gentle reader,  I'm always a sucker for anything relating to interspecies polyamory, but something about this moment in particular filled me with inextinguishable mirth!

This is Dawn's interpretation of Géricault’s Raft of the MedusaGéricault never lived to see his thirty-forth birthday, but his iconic painting influenced artists as diverse as Max Beckmann to Kippenberger to Dana Schutz to Thomas Hirschhorn, to create their own versions of the tragic exemplification of hopelessness and anguish. In contrast to Dawn's depiction, Géricault refrained from painting the violence, murder, and cannibalism that had actually taken place on the French ship, choosing instead to depict the crew members' desperate cries for help.  Kippenberger knew he was dying when he chose to paint his self-portrait depicting himself as each of the crew members of the  Raft of the Medusa . It's one of the most painful, heart-wrenching series he ever made.
Visiting Dawn's studio  reminded me of one of my favorite passages from Fellini on Fellini:

"Nothing is sadder than laughter; nothing more beautiful , more magnificent, more uplifting and enriching than the terror of deep despair. I believe that every man as long as he lives is a prisoner of this terrible fear within which all prosperity is condemned to founder, but which preserves even in its deepest abyss that hopeful freedom which makes it possible for him to smile in seemingly hopeless situations. That's why the intention of the real- that is, the deepest and most honest writers of comedy is by no means to amuse us, but wantonly to tear open our most painful scars so that we feel them all the more strongly. This applies to Shakespeare and 
Molière as well as to Terence and Aristophanes. On the other hand there is no true tragic poet- I'm thinking of Euripedes, Goethe, Dante- who does not understand how to keep a certain ironic distance from even his most terrible sufferings."

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