N. Dash was born in 1980 and works in New Mexico and New York.
N. Dash’s work emphasizes the primacy of touch, revealing the body’s generative capacity through corporeal contact. This haptic engagement opens forms of communication extending beyond the parameters of language and is principally expressed in sculptures, or “primary source material”, consisting of pieces of factory-made fabric that are touched until degraded. Each sculpture is interrelated, networked, and unfolds into the next. They function as an idiosyncratic recording device upon which information, both immaterial and physical – including dirt and oils – passes from the artist’s hands and is indexed onto the tabula rasa of cloth.
The artist rejects a linear notion of progress and defiantly keeps this tool as a means of accessing a pre-lingual state of investigation. These works span a kind of human geological time – tracing from preverbal infancy to the present. The sculptures themselves are photographed, rather than exhibited, in order to suspend their varied iterations and at the same time sanitize their abject remains. The final vestiges were first photographed in 2002. More recently images have been selected from the artist’s continually growing archive and are then enlarged and silkscreened onto adobe substrates, embedding the image into the body of work as a whole and directly connecting the sculptures to their visceral origins.
The paintings exist in concert with the fabric sculptures; they describe each other as part of an interrelated exchange between the two. The paintings use adobe – dirt – as their ground. Earth is excavated from the New Mexico high desert and shipped to the studio in New York where it is rendered in to a mud/dirt plaster. The paintings are constructed of multiple components, clad in canvas and deposits of pigment. Individual parts are variously arranged adjacent to, on, over or apart from each other indicating iterative possibilities, creating a whole and shifting the earth from the existential plane upon which we stand to the vertical register of the wall, the field of vision.
N. Dash earned a BA from New York University in 2003 and an MFA from Columbia University, New York, in 2010. Dash has had solo exhibitions at White Flag Projects, St. Louis (2013); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2014–15); and Fondazione Giuliani, Rome (2017). Work has been included in group exhibitions at White Flag Projects (2012); Abron Arts Center, New York (2013); Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, California (2014); MAXXI Museo Nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo, Rome (2014); Pier 54 High Line, New York (2014); Jewish Museum, New York (2015); Palazzo Strozzi, Florence (2015); The Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (2017) and others. A solo exhibition at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield will be held in 2019.
The work is in the public collections of The Guggenheim Museum, New York; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; MoMA, New York; SFMOMA, San Francisco; Sammlung Goetz, Munich; FRAC des Pays de la Loire, Carquefou; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas; The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; The Margulies Collection, Miami; The Blanton Museum of Art, Austin; S.M.A.K., Ghent; The Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, and others.