Artnet: Ian Dawson
Ian Dawson, "Tilt Trucks and Free Fliers," June 26-Aug. 8, 2003, at James Cohan Gallery, 533 West 26th Street, New York, N.Y. 10001
It's the tilt trucks first. Twenty-four large dumpster-like bins block out the front room at James Cohan Gallery. Contorted by heat and jammed together with a force that suggests the formation of a young planet, the bins are further distressed by melted protuberances which appear in a measured randomness.
The emptiness of these joined bodies immediately brings to mind environmental themes of humanity's waste. The multiplicity of the tilt trucks asserts, as well, the ongoing and repeated nature of the output of the present age. Beyond the specificity of green environmentalism, Ian Dawson's works also address the biological form. The melted elongations that extend from Dawson's plastic bodies suggest a porcupine-esque protection, and the inherent vulnerability therein. Dawson's melded bins are reminiscent of a protean multi-celled animal -- thriving in the soup of contemporary existence. Moreover, with the candy colors of the bins, Dawson points to our own intake -- and our breeding of this sort of plastic amoeba to indulge our guilty if unhealthy pleasures. Burns on the skin of Dawson's protuberances supply wincingly credible evidence of toxicity, and formulate the question, "As life becomes plastic, what happens to us?"