Wonder, Gabriel Dawe, the Renwick, Museum of American Art, Washington, DC, 2015

The Renwick Museum is the first museum in the United States dedicated to art, the first home of the collection of the late lamented Corcoran, a stone’s throw from the north side of the White House and a door away from the magnificent Blair House in Washington, DC.  Today it is the craft museum of the Museum of American Art of the Smithsonian. 

To celebrate its renovation after 2 years, the Renwick commissioned a handful of artist-artisans to create an interpretation of Wonder.  That is to say, that they were asked to induce wonder in visitors to these rooms. 

That they did not induce wonder in me is to do with the notion that wonder takes hold not only of one’s senses but also of one’s intellect and spirit.  It is a whole-body experience.

Some of the artists produced works whose sensuality is obvious even in photographs.  But only the work of Jennifer Angus begins to call in all three.

Gabriel Dawe’s creation is below.  His A1 Plexus  is a very fine homage to the textile industry of his youth which was his inspiration.  It reminded me, in winter gratefully, of the vivifying effects of light and colour on our senses. 

Colored threads were hung floor to ceiling in a helix-like formation, arched in the middle so that you could walk through, look up, look out to the light streaming through an open door and through windows.

Gabriel Dawe, born Mexico City, 1973, lives in Dallas, TX.

A1 Plexus; thread, wood, hooks and steel; 2015.

Gabriel Dawe, Renwick, DC 2015-01

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