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Sites by Marley Dawson
January 27, 2022 - April 1, 2022
Sites links two places that artist, Marley Dawson, has lived – Washington, DC and Bethanga, Victoria in Australia. The artworks reference a moment in time when each of the sites represented were seemingly abandoned. This is achieved using signage, topography maps, and images recreated as woven tapestries.
The Washington DC site represented is the empty retail space, previously a liquor store, on the corner of 18th Street and California Street. The site was abandoned long before Dawson encountered it in 2012; it appears as though someone had locked up one evening and never came back, with bottles still gathering dust on the shelves. The security screens and graffiti (the pair of tapestries) hark back to a less homogenized and sanitized time than the space locals now see.
For the Bethanga site, the tapestry image is from the centre of the small town, which is built around an old gold smelter. The ground is stained purple with arsenic from the extraction process. Again, a reference to a different time with the town as Dawson knows it now, developing around this historical site. This smelter site is the reason Bethanga exists where it is – The mining industry left in the early 20th century and, as with the old liquor store, the remains were abandoned. The town erected fences and signage around the historic area and left it. It is a strange alien landscape full of holes and purple sand, broken bottles and decaying infrastructure…