Passing Through at Shift Gallery is Dawn Endean’s latest body of work. She embarked on a heady subject with these figurative prints; the show is all about departed lives. Some of these portraits are real and some invented. A few of her characters seem confused, or pensive, while others imagine some heavenly escape.
As she says in her statement, she was inspired by an unexpected encounter with a photo of a corpse. The picture took her off guard – she thought she was seeing a standing person, but something was off proportionally. Upon closer inspection, the figure was lying down. It intrigued her – that moment of misunderstanding – and became the reason for the large hands and smaller head and shoulder areas in her prints. In addition to her reaction to this image, she had been delving into her family history, and the idea that a person could be reduced to their birth and death certificates struck her. Through her work, these long dead family members live on with a rounding out of character, however speculative. One piece shows a man wearing a bird-like mask, as if transforming as he is passing though. In each piece, there is a back story that can be as long or short as you want to make it. The longer you view the works, the more the story unfolds if you apply a little imagination.
Printmaking is a vast study. Endean focuses on the ways in which she can relay that which interests her. After sketching out a multitude of variations, she then focuses on what techniques will best relay her ideas. For this show, she has made shellac plate intaglio her method for achieving the line work – the drawing portion of the print, which is repeatable. From there, she adds collage elements, paint, and pencil, enabling her to work in varied editions – no two alike, just like her subjects. The result is a rich array of personalities with texture and color embellishing and emphasizing each unique soul.