Gabriel Dawe’s installations of multicolored thread engage the eye and challenge our perception of space. At first, you may think you see a full spectrum of projected light: a rainbow of saturated hues shimmering on the walls and the floor. But as you approach, you begin to perceive that the color comes not from a projection, but from thousands of individual threads strung throughout the space. In an astounding, painstaking process, the artist uses miles of thread mounted between hooks in the walls and floor to create experiences of eye-popping color and form.
Dawe’s work in thread stems in part from his cultural background. The artist grew up watching his grandmother create hand embroidery, a traditionally feminine skill she passed on to her granddaughters but not her grandson. Feeling stymied, Dawe sought to explode the gender-bound tradition. He sees the structure of his installations as a metaphor for the social structures—and strictures—that often rule our everyday lives.