For his first exhibition in a public gallery in the UK, Verne Dawson had selected two groups of paintings from the last six years, augmented with a new, previously unseen work completed specially for this exhibition.
Drawn from collections in the US and Europe, the exhibition brought together a series of three large-scale acrobat paintings with four paintings based on the seasons. The Cycle of Quarter-Day Observances was set in 23,800 BC, recalling a time evoked through fairy tales and rituals associated with festivals such as May Day, Halloween and Christmas.
Dawson took figures from these Arcadian landscapes to the setting of the Big Top and drew parallels between the zodiac and the spectacle of the circus. Dawson’s paintings explored mankind’s position in the universe and the mythological roots of civilisation by situating the past in the present and suggesting ways forward for the future. His extensive interests ranged from mathematics, logic and the planets to Picabia via prehistoric cave drawings and focus on links between ancient and modern worlds.