‘Working the Stasis’, by artist Dawn Felicia Knox, is a multidisciplinary exploration of the tension between objects and the biological processes that degrade them. The point of investigation is Hadrian’s Wall, which stretches across Northern England. The monument, surrounding settlements and artefacts once found there appear as if unchanged after thousands of years. This is the result of an army of curators, volunteers, rangers and conservationists who work endlessly to preserve them. Knox has been working with English Heritage and Northumberland National Parks documenting the work done and collecting all the biological specimens that are removed to stop the processes of decay. The project has resulted in three interlinking exhibitions. In addition to Vane, there are interventions at Chesters Roman Museum and Birdoswald Roman Museum on Hadrian’s Wall.
In 'Tending the Shadows' at Vane Knox will exhibit a series of red velvet panels originally from Chesters Museum. The panels, installed in the museum in 1950, were opulent but the velvet was not lightfast. After 38 years of exposure to light, it turned to shades of yellow with the only original red pigment remaining in the shapes of the artefacts.
In addition to the panels, Knox is showing a series of cyanotypes created from collected specimens such as ferns, dust, insects and plants. Both sets of photograms, the panels and the cyanotypes, represent the form of the specimens and artefacts while highlighting their absence and the passage of time.
Dawn Felicia Knox was born in New Mexico, USA, and is currently living in Gateshead. She is an artist and curator working across media to create art objects and immersive environments. She has shown her work in a wide range of traditional and non-traditional venues such as the Great North Museum and the Castle Keep in Newcastle upon Tyne.
The project is funded by Arts Council England and English Heritage. Go to www.stasis.dawnfelicia.com to learn more about the project.