Painting life found in and around Texas is what Carol Dawson does best. She is particularly interested in displaying the life force of things that are normally viewed as secondary to human existence, most notably birds and flowers. Her enchanting watercolors display native birds and flora magnified to human scale. By enlarging the scale of her subjects, Dawson draws the viewer in to focus on these magnificent creatures, and to take notice of intricate details that otherwise we would miss in our chaotic world.
Dawson describes herself as a birding ‘stalker’ who waits on her back porch, camera in hand ready to observe and document the ornithological life that crosses her path. She becomes a part of their narrative and studies every minute idiosyncrasy with an almost obsessive focus. Her artwork is not meant to be a scientific record; in fact, she would say it is far from that category. She is translating their lives to paper and thus commemorating them for posterity.
Take Screech Owl I which shows the bird with its chest puffed, eyes mid blink rearing back into a hollow cavity of a tree. Personality radiates from this fair bird, and I am prepared to hear its loud, trilling song emanate from the watercolor. It is this immersive quality found throughout the paintings that allows those viewing to become one with the birds and the botanicals, and imbues each of the pieces with a sacred quality. Dawson’s beautiful work teaches us we are all merely residents for a short time on this earth, and that we have to respect each living entity fully. Definitely a must see.
Carol Dawson’s Solo Show is on exhibit at Wally Workman Gallery through September 28, 2018.