Inside the Artist’s Studio: Dawn Clements in Greenpoint

01/04/2012 4:00 AM |

Dawn Clements‘s new exhibition, with sculptures by Marc Leuthold, opens at Pierogi on January 6 and remains on view through February 12.

How did this new series of drawings come about?
I’ve been collaborating with this sculptor named Marc Leuthold. He’s a friend and a colleague, and a wonderful artist. We wanted to collaborate, and he lives 350 miles away from me, so we decided that I would start by making drawings, then I would give him the drawings and he would make sculptures based on the drawings. From his sculptures I would in turn make drawings. For a long time the drawings I was doing in response to his sculptures were, in a way, too reverent. It’s a perfectly nice drawing, but it’s kind of a rendering of the sculpture. So I tried to figure out how to bring it back into the context of my studio. Eventually they all ended up on my table and then other things ended up on my table, and I decided to start drawing. I felt that the work was taking up a lot of my studio life, so I thought: “I’m just going to do two drawings a day; I’m gonna start little, I’m not gonna do a big piece because it’s going to take over my life.” Of course it still took over my life.

It strikes me that your work is as much about marking the passage of time as it is about space.
It sort of sounds corny, but Paul Klee talked about taking a line for a walk. That’s definitely part of my process, just crawling across a tabletop. My point of view is constantly changing, and even though I’m bigger than the table, somehow visually I end up becoming very small when I move across a table. It’s not a worm’s eye point of view, certainly, I’m above it, but I definitely somehow feel like I’m crawling across the table when I work on these pieces. Every object becomes kind of mountainous.

And I have to say it’s not always pleasurable. Like when you’re climbing a mountain, it’s hard, and sometimes you push on and try to go faster just so you can have it over, so you get to the view. I remember when we were kids and my family used to go mountain climbing on Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire, and we used to just race to the top of it. It was hard for us as kids, but we just couldn’t wait to get to the rocks and get to the top. Of course there’s a great deal of pleasure along the way, but it’s not always easy.