Dawna Rose is a contemporary painter who blends figuration and abstraction in unexpected and visually striking compositions. Her paintings are not easy to classify, weaving together various genres, styles, and intentions. She frequently presents snapshots of figures in the midst of some great drama, though nothing is ever quite certain or clear. Any potential narrative is consistently disrupted and obscured, visually and stylistically, through abrupt scale shifts, inventive, often jarring colour choices, and a flattening or flipping of the spatial illusion. Rather than attempting to synthesize the various elements within each picture, Rose instead chooses to celebrate their incongruency. With a loose and gestural style, her works are painterly, powerfully visceral, and disorienting in the best possible way.
Dawna Rose was born in Calgary and educated in Edmonton (B. Sc. Pharmacy), Toronto (BFA York University), and Saskatoon (MFA University of Saskatchewan). She has exhibited across Canada and internationally, in Saskatoon, Regina, Calgary, Sackville, Toronto, Montreal, and Iceland. Rose has published two limited edition books: Wally's Spectacular Spin Farms, which won a CEEF grant from the Saskatchewan Publishers group, and Smoking with My Mother (Jackpine Press), which won an Alcuin Society National Book award. Her drawn animated Super 8 films have been part of the $100 Film Festival in Calgary. Rose has exhibited her work in Saskatoon with Art Placement since 2014.
This latest series, Rock/brain, began in August 2021 at a Pouch Cove foundation residency in Newfoundland. I had a couple of small panels with me that morphed into rock mound shaped abstracts. The paintings were influenced by the environment I was in and my daily walks along the East Coast trail which was a mere 15 minutes from my studio. Concurrently I had begun a meditation course which I accessed daily online through an app. The app not only conducted a daily 20 minute meditation but had innumerable talks about neurology and the brain which I found quite captivating having never really investigated my own.
Upon returning to Saskatoon I continued to transform both new and old panels into these lump like shapes, structures similar to the paintings I had started in Pouch Cove. Initially the paintings seemed like landscapes, or lumps in a landscape but eventually the shape reminded me more and more of brains ( with a lot of stuff going on inside them) placed in a space. I admit to listening to the meditation app while painting. Sometimes they reminded me of portraits, obviously not traditional ones but rather more like brain scans. This work grew to include 38 panel pieces of various sizes that I travelled around Saskatoon with to three different residencies over the past 6 months. I worked on all the panels simultaneously. The working method was a form of addition and subtraction. Sometimes adding paint and sometimes using solvent or a palette knife to remove paint. Each decision on each piece created a subsequent decision. The narrative and physical structure of the painting became slightly less important as the process of painting took over but the final work would not have had the same emotional or visual heft for me if they hadn’t started with the lump, the landscape and the inner workings of a mysterious brain.
2022 - Journal of the Plague Years, (2-person), The Gallery/Art Placement Inc., Saskatoon, SK
2021 - Journal of the Plague Year, (2-person), 330g, Saskatoon, SK
2018 - Our Enduring Drama (2-person), The Gallery/Art Placement Inc., Saskatoon, SK
2015 - Mattering. The Gallery/Art Placement Inc., Saskatoon, SK
2015 - Open studio. Gullkistan Residency. Laugarvatn, Iceland
2015 - Open studio. Banff Centre for Creativity
2014 - The Chance Files. Boulderpavement:Art and Ideas/The Banff Centre http://boulderpavement.ca/issue013/the-chance-files/
2014 - Retro Slide Show, Loop Gallery, Toronto
2012 - I’ve Tried to Be Happy, Illingworth Kerr Gallery, ACAD, Calgary
2005 - Royal Red Group Show, Phonographic, Saskatoon
2003 - Open Studio, Klondike Institute of the Arts, Dawson City, Yukon
2003 - Regard a gauche/Looking Left, Articule, Montreal
2002 - Big Boys, The Art Gallery of Regina
2000 - Shopping Plaza Removed To Make Way For Swamp. A.K.A. Gallery, Saskatoon
1997 - Models of Progress, Struts Gallery, Sackville, NB.
1998 - Little Worlds, Dunlop Art Gallery, Regina
Smoking With My Mother. Super 8 colour animation. 2 minutes
2007 - 15th Annual $100 Film Festival CSIF, Calgary
2006 - Hotel Saskatchewan, Regina
2006 - Lydia’s on Broadway, Saskatoon
Some Business With Rabbit. Super 8 black and white animation. 4 minutes
2005 - 13th Annual $100 Film Festival, CSIF, Calgary
2009 - Wally’s Spectacular SPIN farms. Book
2006 - Smoking With My Mother. Book and animated film. Jack Pine Press, Saskatoon, SK.
Alcuin Society National Book Award.
2021 - Pouch Cove Residency, Newfoundland and Labrador
2015 - Gullkistan Residency, Laugarvatn, Iceland
2015 - Banff Independent Art Residency
2015 - Artscape, Independent Art Residency,Toronto Island
2003 - Klondike Institute of the Arts Residency, Dawson City
2002 - Vermont Studio Centre Residency, Johnson, VT. U.S.A.
2000 - Emma Lake Drawing Workshop, University of Saskatchewan
1998 - Banff School of Fine Arts Residency, Banff
1991 - Master of Fine Arts, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon
1989 - Bachelor of Fine Arts, York University, Toronto
1982 - Bachelor of Science, University of Alberta, Edmonton
Grants and Awards
2015 - Saskatchewan Arts Board Independent Visual Arts Grant
2011 - Saskatchewan Arts Board Independent Visual Arts Grant
2009 - Creative Economy Entrepreneurial Fund Saskatchewan Publishers Group
2007 - Canada Council, Media Grant. Film.
2007 - Second prize, Limited Edition Category, Alcuin Society National Book Awards
2005 - Saskatchewan Arts Board, Media C Grant
2003 - Canada Council Travel Grant
2002 - Vermont Studio Centre, Residency Grant, Johnson, Vt. U.S.A.
2001 - Saskatchewan Arts Board , Creative B Grant
2000 - Canada Council, Visual Arts Creation/Production Grant
1999 - Saskatchewan Arts Board, Creative B Grant
1998 - Banff School of Fine Arts, Residency Scholarship
1997 - Saskatchewan Arts Board, Creative C Grant
1994 - Canada Council, Exploration Grant
1991 - Saskatchewan Arts Board, Individual Assistance Study B grant
1990 - University of Saskatchewan, Research Thesis Scholarship
“Dawna Rose's paintings raise curtain on a colourful dance”, Saskatoon Star Phoenix,
Sept.15/15 John Shelling.
“Political Paintings”, Regard a Gauche, Articule, Montreal, Jan/03
“Artist takes a swipe at big boys”, Regina Leader-Post, Oct. 2/02
“Local artist lampoons corporate rats”, Saskatoon Star Phoenix, Jul. 13/02
“Capturing global leaders. “ Prince Albert Daily Herald, Aug. 30/01
Little Worlds. Dunlop Art Gallery, Regina, SK. 2001, Editor: Anthony Kiendl.
Essays: Anthony Kiendl . Jeanne Randolph.
2007 - Independent Artist Visual Jury, Saskatchewan Arts Board
1997-2001 - Visual Arts Placement Committee, City of Saskatoon