Each thread is patiently strung, cascading from one side of the Gill Hamilton Gallery to the other, allowing visitors to experience the entire color spectrum.
The visitors have been many since Gabriel Dawe’s arrival in the previous week. Some witnessed his installation of the first string, then returned a few days later to see his progress. And then they couldn’t resist. The action may have been slow, but they had to see what happened next.
So, they made a third trip to the LSU Museum of Art only a few days before the official opening of Dawe’s installation for another look.
That’s where the Gill Hamilton Gallery is, on the back side of the museum, where the textile installation Cascade of Color: Gabriel Dawe opened on April 28 and will hang for a year.
The installation is site specific, meaning Dawe planned it especially for the museum. It isn’t Dawe’s biggest, but it does rank in the category of his larger works.
And museum visitors were able to witness its creation from beginning to end.
“We encouraged visitors to come back to the museum to see Gabriel’s progress,” Natalie Mault said. “And they did. We’ve seen some of the same visitors return, some more than once.”
Mault is the museum’s curator. She discovered Dawes’ work through the internet and talked to former museum director Tom Livesay about a possible installation.
“I was amazed by Gabriel’s work, and I could just imagine what it would look like in our museum,” Mault said. “Tom supported the idea. That was part of his mission. He was all about people seeing artists actually doing their work.”
Dawe is a Dallas-based mixed media and installation artist. He was born in Mexico City, where he, according to his artist’s statement, “grew up surrounded by the intensity and color of Mexican culture.”
He worked first as a graphic designer, then moved to Canada, where he began creating artwork with textiles and embroidery. He eventually participated in an architectural exhibit which sought to show the relationship between architecture and textiles.
Dawe pared this relationship down to the bare bones of textiles, which is thread. He created an installation based on this idea, which has since grown into his Plexus series.
“It’s like the plexus in our bodies, which is a network of intersecting nerves,” Dawe said. “This is a network of threads.”
Threads that intersect to form a shape that morphs into something new when viewed from different angles throughout the room. Threads from which the color spectrum glows, throwing out different color schemes as visitors walk by, then turn around and walk by again.
Thousands of threads that must be separately attached to create this effect. He uses regular sewing thread.
This makes Cascade of Color even more amazing, because of the volume it takes to create this rain of color.
And even those visitors who didn’t have a chance to watch Dawe in the earliest stages of his work can still be awed as they walk into the Gill Hamilton Gallery and get swept into the flow of the Cascade of Color.