FEBRUARY 13 – MARCH 7, 1998



The artist rubs clay slip (black, red oxide (sanguine) and sienna) on the gallery walls with her hands. The material smells earthy and you become more aware of your senses. Dagmar works rigorously in a painterly way. This drawing is done on site, in the gallery, over a period of days. The artist does not have a preconceived plan. Only the materials are predetermined. Dagmar examines how viewers’ bodies will relate and move through the installation before beginning to draw on the walls in clay. The clay drawings works with the architecture and exists only for the duration of the exhibition.

There is a certain level of risk in working this way because the gallery becomes the artist’s studio for a short time—revealing process as well as product. Dagmar’s spontaneous process allows her to create a sense of immediacy in the work. By responding to the particularities of the site, Dagmar reinforces the immediacy and emotional impact of the work. The performative quality inherent to her way of working can be experienced by viewers during the process, and in the work, once complete.

Small gouache drawings are hung on, in and around the completed clay wall work. These drawings may be framed or simply pinned to the wall. The drawings are diaristic and have been done in the past two years. Again, the images are not predetermined, but rather, they evolve out of the artist’s semi-meditative state—each line determining where the other lines will fall. Although spontaneous, the imagery generally has to do with the body, nature, sensation and feeling. Dagmar’s drawings and process investigate personal and cultural histories examining truth, representation, and trust.



DAGMAR DAHLE studied at the University of Victoria and the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Her most recent exhibition, “Letter”, was a collaborative installation with Vida Simon at Articule in Montreal, Quebec (1997). Drawing and writing are central to her practice, which also includes painting, installation and bookworks. From Vancouver, Dagmar is currently teaching art at the University of Lethbridge.



I would like to write like a painter. I would like tow rite like a painting. The way I would like to live. Maybe the way I manage to live, sometimes. Or rather, the way it is sometimes given to me to live, in the present absolute. In the happening of the instant. Just at the moment of the instant, in what unfurls it, I touch down then let myself slip into the depth of the instant itself. HC

And what is a painter? A bird-catcher of instants. HC

I gather words to make a great straw-yellow fire, but if you don’t put in your own flame, my fire won’t take, m y w o r d s w o n t b u r s t i n to p a l e y e l l o w s p a r k s . M y w o r d s w i l l
r e m a i n d e a d w o r l d s . Without your breath on my words there will be no mimosas. HC

I would like to write what is living in life; I would like to be in the ocean and render it in words. Which is impossible. I would like to write the rose-colored beach and the pearly ocean. And it is February. Completely impossible. My words cant tell you the simultaneously infinite and yet finite beach rolled out like an immense carpet of rosy sands. My words are colorless. Barely sonorous? What I can tell you, a painter would show you. HC

Notes: Cixious, Helene. “The Last Painting,” in Coming to Writing and Other Essays. Cambridge: Harvard university Press, 1991.

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