Trish Clark Gallery is pleased to present Phil Dadson’s solo exhibition DRAWN IN – a rare opportunity to view a curated selection of Dadson’s expressive drawings, celebrated and previously unseen, that span five decades. With works rendering visible the connection between rhythm, body, time and space, DRAWN IN provokes an invitation for a more nuanced understanding of the pivotal role of drawing in Dadson’s diverse practice that foregrounds sound as a primary impetus.
The drawings deliver a lateral view of sound, a register of being human in the moment. From the small, boldly handsome scores of Dadson’s 1970s Play series to the repeated circular forms of chalk-drawn Groundplans that underpinned all From Scratch performances; through the recent large-scale weathered Sound-bow, the 1980’s full-body performance of the large graphite drawings, and the potent gestural throws of acrylic paint on paper in Portal; to the delicate ink on glassene of July Music (Mirror Pool series) and the small dense August Music (Mud-stamp series); these and other drawings become artefacts of time in this rich survey.
Included in the exhibition is the original (1986) highly complex score of Parts 1 & 2 of the seminal From Scratch performance, Pacific 3,2,1,Zero, captured in all its lyrical dynamism in Gregor Nicholas’s film of the same title that won the Croisette d’Or Grand Prix at the Cannes Music Film Awards in 1994 and is in the Permanent Film Collection of MoMA in New York. We are delighted to announce that Pacific 3,2,1,Zero is included as a Cinema presentation in the 17th Istanbul Biennial, opening September 2022, highlighting the work’s compelling ongoing social significance in the face of resurgent environmental and geo-political threats.
Christina Barton has averred how “Dadson’s prime concern is to tap into material existence to find its rhythm and pulse, to explore a sensory realm in order to connect with the world in both its concrete and disembodied dimensions. This entails harnessing the body to physical reality via its senses, movements and sound-generating potential, in ways that enable the individual to connect with the wider systems (visible and invisible, natural and social) within which humans operate. This is a phenomenological inquiry seeking knowledge of the world and of the self within it that is at once selfless and profoundly fulfilling. Dadson is not only motivated by his own impulses and desires, but sees the potential in what he does for connecting people to each other and to their environment, so his is a socially motivated project.”
The artist acknowledges he has “drawn influence and inspiration from, foremost, the inexhaustible volume of Nature; Sengai, for his synthesis of the Universe into the essential triad of circle, equilateral, square; Cornelius Cardew, for his inventive translation of sound into a playful geometry of visual music; and Abdullah Dougan, for his profound teachings, guidance and inspired creative expression in art, music and word.”
Phil Dadson is a seminal figure in New Zealand’s art history, recognised for pushing the boundaries of sound and intermedia art since the 1970s through his founding role in establishing From Scratch (1974 – 2002), the internationally renowned performance group, and for his influence on a generation of leading mid-career artists. His highly inventive trans-disciplinary approach encompasses experimental musical instruments and sonic objects, video/sound installation, music composition, graphic scores, drawing and graphics, sound sculptures and improv with invented instruments. Appointed to the Sculpture Department at Auckland University’s Elam School of Fine Arts in 1977, Dadson held the position of Head of Intermedia/Time based arts from 1986 – 2001. Dadson has received several major awards and commissions including a Fulbright travel award to the USA, residencies in Antarctica, Delhi, Venice, San Francisco, and numerous International research, exhibition and performance grants. In 2001 he received a New Zealand Arts Foundation Laureate award and in 2003, an Antarctic Artist Fellowship. Dadson was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) in 2005.
Dadson lives and works in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand.