DAWN SOUTHWORTH IS RECOGNIZED for her mixed media works and installations. She is a graduate of Massachusetts College of Art and Design, where she focused on textiles and sculpture. Her passion for fabric and fibers has evolved into a sophisticated and innovative approach to construction. She has been awarded artist fellowships from the Massachusetts Cultural Council in both painting and drawing and is a recipient of a NEA/NEFA Fellowship in sculpture. She is also represented in museums and public and private collections including the Addison Gallery of American Art, the DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Fidelity, Wellington Management and the Boston Public Library. A zealous collector, Southworth has the extraordinary ability to coalesce a vast array of materials and processes. Laden with symbols and metaphor, her use of found objects, drawing, sewing and pyrography is emotionally charged and conceptually stimulating.
WORKING WITH A MULTITUDE of materials affords me boundless room to experiment with techniques and processes. I draw, paint, sew, collage, hammer, burn, and wrap. My work begins with the act of collecting, both in the tangible sense and also in memory. My studio houses well loved fabrics, burnt ironing board covers, found and rusted metals, assorted tree fragments, vintage hand-written journals, photographs and reclaimed canvases. It is with these worn and forsaken objects that I simultaneously create and destroy, adorn and strip down. I strive to create a discourse between the tales embedded in these artifacts and my own stories and memories. It is important for me to retain the sense of testimony and nostalgia that my materials evoke while constructing my own narratives.
There is a world of whimsy in hand drawn shapes that I am constantly exploring. I am entranced by simple figures, such as birds, cakes, and chairs, and also by more abstract and organic forms. I often repeat, replicate, and reinvent a shape or symbol throughout a piece, so it becomes a motif. Like a visual mantra, it mirrors the cyclical nature of my process.