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Sage Dawson

Sage Dawson is an artist and curator whose work examines the politics of housing and labor inherent to the American city. Her work addresses issues facing sites including the erasure of vernacular architecture, invisible borders, and care as a form of protest. Embedding into the topography of the built environment, her work signals an ever-changing and expanding politics of space. She’s drawn to analog approaches to technology, and explores ways of making that typify domestic labor: banner-making, needlepoint, open-work, patterning, and sewing. Engaging in these means of production activates, realizes, and archives their specific history.

Dawson is currently the co-director at both STNDRD in Granite City, Illinois, a public art project examining the power and potential of flags; and NON STNDRD in Sauget, Illinois, two adjacent exhibition spaces on the National Building Arts Center campus that formerly served as steel casting sand bunkers. She earned an MFA with a museum studies minor from the University of New Mexico, and a BFA from Missouri State University. She has curated exhibitions at The Luminary (St. Louis), Loyola Marymount University (Los Angeles), ACRE Projects (Steuben, Wisconsin), the Terrain Biennial (Springfield, Illinois), and Dalton Warehouse (Los Angeles).

Dawson has exhibited, lectured, and presented work at various sites including the Center for Contemporary Printmaking Norwalk, the NARS Foundation, the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts Project Space/Printed Matter, the Urban Institute for Contemporary Art, the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, the Chicago Artists Coalition, the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, Ortega y Gasset (Brooklyn), Tate Exchange, Boston University School of Visual Arts, the Terrain Biennial, Practise (Chicago), Super Duchess (New York), the Saint Louis Art Museum, Laumeier Sculpture Park, the Springfield Art Museum, The Luminary, the City University of New York, the Counterpublic Triennial, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Toledo Center for the Visual Arts, Minnesota Center for Book Arts, Work - Detroit, and the International Print Center New York.

Dawson is a recent recipient of a Futures Fund regranting initiative awarded by the Luminary and funded by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. She is also the recipient of the creative stimulus award from Critical Mass for the Visual Arts St. Louis, a research travel grant from the Mid America Print Council, and is a Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant nominee. She has completed residencies at ACRE, the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, the Cité international des arts in Paris, Zygote Press, the Luminary, and Vermont Studio Center. She was awarded the Denbo Fellowship at Pyramid Atlantic, and has previously worked in collaboration at the Tamarind Institute.

Dawson’s work has appeared in Art in America, Elephant Magazine, From Here to There (published by Princeton Architectural Press), New Art Examiner, New City Art, Saint Louis Public Radio, 60 Wrd/Min Art Critic, Art in Print, Dwell Magazine, and Hyperallergic.

Personal website

Work by Sage Dawson

View of a textile hung above among the wooden rafters/joists of a ceiling; along these beams are fluorescent lights which illuminate the gallery space below — the walls are white and there is a wire sculpture below, on the ground in the distance. The textile up above is green and red with a geometric pattern, a (red) triangle in the center.

One North, Topping Out Day, 2019

Relief Print, Monotype, Acrylic on Canvas.
Photograph of a sculpture in space: the surroundings are an open-air brick and wood structure/building, with a faded red ground/floor; the sculpture is blue and white ,with a repeated geometric pattern printed on each layer.

Stopgap, 2019

Made in Collaboration with Meghan Grubb. Silkscreen on sandbags. 4'6" x 4'5" x 4’.
Plants printed in black and white, each surrounded by organic shapes which are filled in with either black and white and red and black line patterns; red lines lead each section of the print to the center, which emanates from the center in concentric circles (white, orange, and red). The background is rendered in a topographical manner, so that layers radiate from the center in similarly orderly bands, as if the rings of a tree. The background ranges in color, featuring light/lime green gradients to gray-blue-beige hues.

Summerville: Natural Disasters During the Winter of 2011, 2012

Collagraphy, Acrylic, Lithography. 20" x 22.25".
Against white brick walls and a white concrete floor, an installation: a black and white pattern tiled across some of the bricks in the wall lead to the upper edge of the wall; red tiles/material outlines some of the patterns, a few pieces of the red material also stacked together in the foreground.

Little Tavern, 2016

Collagraphy, Acrylic, Wood, Paper. Installation at Pyramid Atlantic.
A textile placed on the façade of a house. The textile consists of a blue and white geometric pattern, with the text "THEY RISE OR FALL TOGETHER" — the fabric also hangs on the front of the house above two brooms.

Common Shift, 2017

Site-specific installation at 1105 N 7th, Springfield, Illinois. Collagraphy on Fabric, Serigraphy, Acrylic, Thread, Fringe, Brooms.
Against a brick wall on green grass, an installation: a tent anchored to the ground with bricks. The tent is bright red/vermilion and light coral, its door open. The interior of the tent is dark. Faint geometric patterns appear on the side of the tent.

Brick Myth, 2016

Site-specific installation at 3301 Magnolia. Collagraphy, Acrylic, Fabric, Wood. 9’ x 8’ x 6’.
A black and white image of the interior of a theatre; in the center where the stage is, is instead a framed composition of various plants and color gradients (these are in full color) in the center. The light in this image appears somewhere in the back left, illuminating the rows of seats to the left, casting a shadow to the right and to the front. The interior of the space is ornately decorated, the pilasters/columns illustrated with symmetrical floral motifs.

Columns Like Columns, 2017

Collage (Photograph from Rogers Park/West Ridge Historical Society Archive). 8.5" x 11".
On a square-gridded background, a rug/carpet in red, pink, vermilion/orange, the pattern on which is geometric and its tassels in an orange/pink hue. The rug is depicted in a schematic way, as if resting/placed on invisible blocks, so that it drapes over the grid in a sharp manner.

Soon Comes Night, 2019

Acrylic on Paper. 11" x 8.25".
A rug/carpet, drawn in black ink on a gridded background; it has a geometric, modular pattern, adhering to the square unit of the grid background; sections of the rug are overlaid with colorful, pink patterns which resemble portions of a rug as well.

A Cloud, A Pall, 2019

Acrylic on Paper. 11" x 8.25".
In a gallery space with white walls and light wooden floors, an installation: a rug/carpet hangs from the wall, extending to the foreground; it is white/cream-colored, its surface stitched/adorned with lines that thread across the length of the material.

Timeline, 2009

Lithography, Hair, Acrylic, Gold Leaf on Handmade Paper. 4'10" x 17'10". Printed at the Tamarind Institute of Lithography.
Prints placed on grass, photographed in aerial view: the material is a vibrant pink-orange-red hue, segmented in triangular sections. Lighter patterns appear on some of these sections, in light blue; two people stand around/amidst the artwork, their shadows stretching behind them.

Drift Field, 2018

Made in collaboration with Meghan Grubb. Monotype, Screenprint, Dyed Fabric, Wood. Dimensions Variable.
A gallery space: the walls are gray/slate with wooden floors: a landscape is installed along the corner of the space, as if the walls frame the landscape, outlined in five rounded arches; in the foreground on the floor is a reflective surface that shows the reflections of the landscape in the back, as if the glimmering ripples of a pond. Lights on the ceiling illuminate the corner of the space with the landscape, casting a shadow on the ground between the corner and the foreground.

Itinerary Map West Through Space & Time, 2009

Acrylic, Dry Pastel, Gold Leaf on Collagraph. 7'10" x 23'9".