— The Arts Club, London

Installation View: N. Dash, The Arts Club

N. Dash, Untitled, 2013, 186.7 x 87.6 cm

N. Dash, Untitled, 2013, 137.2 x 279.4 cm

N. Dash, Untitled, 2013, 97.2 x 50.8 cm

Installation View: N. Dash, The Arts Club

Installation View: N. Dash, The Arts Club


Installation View: N. Dash, The Arts Club

Among the most interesting of a new generation of artists working in ‘abstract materialism’, N. Dash explores what a painting is precisely by deconstructing it and exposing its components – such as jute, indigo or canvas – in pure form, as well as through her process-based interventions.

Raw materials in their most elemental form are at the core of Dash’s practice, playing out in her work in ways that reconsider both their physicality and meaning. Among her earliest works – which began when she was a child before she conceptualised them as art – were those created in the palm of the hand, usually without anyone noticing, in a pocket or inside a sleeve, as she folds and creases small pieces of fabric or paper. For Dash the act of making these works is an almost primal necessity; she almost always has something working in her hand. Touch becomes an essential medium as the objects are worn down, reformed, altered and transformed into small sculptures that read like accidental compositions from the inside of a pocket in pair of jeans. The paper pieces are often then covered in graphite – a medium the artist often returns to for its association with the materiality of drawing. 

These diminutive gestures have evolved within Dash’s practice into larger scale wall works that sit squarely at the intersection between painting and sculpture – jutting out into the viewer’s space and often maintaining a density and mass more akin to 3-dimensional work than paint on canvas. The works created for The Arts Club show are composed, in varying combinations, of adobe, jute, canvas, rubbed graphite, and embedded twine. Dash’s Brooklyn studio looks out over the Brooklyn Bridge, and the structure’s imposing order of lines was a key influence on her compositions in a few of these works, expressed through the use of twine – itself an echo of the steel ropes. Each material is explored for its own intelligence and history, brought together through process and thought as part of the artist’s singular vision.

Born in 1980 and living in Brooklyn, New York, N. Dash has two important solo shows coming up at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles and at White Flag Projects in St Louis, Missouri.  She has previously been included in numerous important group shows internationally, including Painting in Place (curated by Shamim Momin) in Los Angeles, and Everyday Abstract (curated by Matthew Higgs) at James Cohan Gallery, New York. 

The exhibition is curated by Amelie von Wedel and Pernilla Holmes of Wedel Art.