The primary focus of my residency at Dieu Donné was a series of drawings of plants that use the paper as the ground and employ mark-making elements to express plant growth.
Making paper has itself given me insight into the nature of fabric, which is the primary material of my work. Previously, my experience with cotton had predominantly been in its woven form. Here, the activity of turning the material from a pulpy liquid into a solid plane allowed me to probe the plant’s shape-shifting possibilities, while still acknowledging its sculptural nature.
In creating the works, I pulled two sheets and laid one on top of the other. They fused together to make one. With the introduction of an interruption or breach – in this instance, string drawn between the two sheets – the paper shifted into a body, with an outside and an inside, instead of what may typically be considered a front and back. The field within the seemingly flat surface opened up a dormant area that became an integral aspect of the work.
The interior of the paper thus became a hermetic space to hold the root of the plant. The uncovered line that exists above ground is the part of the plant that is exposed to the elements. The bare line falls and asserts its contingent presence. The drawings focus equally on the plant, which is both obscured and revealed, and on the ground. Without the primal force of the ground that houses the roots, there is no plant. These pieces do not point to any heroic aspects of the natural world, but to the diminutive growth of a line (the shoot) and its support (root) — which are, like much in nature, unseen, walked upon and underground.
I would like to thank Lisa Switalski for her tireless support, proficiency and expertise.
– N. Dash, 2013
N. Dash (b. 1980, Miami Beach, FL) lives and works in New York and New Mexico. She holds an MFA from Columbia University and is represented by UNTITLED, New York.