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Joseph Dawson

“My activities as an artist began as a pre-teen drawing images and then stories and graphic novels (comics) as a teenager. My training as a painter began during my time at university when I was working towards a degree in Design. The few painting and drawing courses I took left me with instructors who were still reacting against the “confines” of academia.

By the time I had graduated, I was left with an aesthetic restlessness. I had no wish to quest after an “originality” that ultimately ended in some sterile intellectual game. I wanted to know how to paint. I wanted the foundational training that gave such grace and relevance to the work of my predecessors.

To this end I travelled to Italy and taught English. I had hoped to earn enough to enroll into one of the prestigious academies there only to end up doing the next best thing: copying the works of old masters in the best of environments. The disparity between what I had learned in my own study of art history and the immediacy of this new world of illusionist mastery was like a coming to life for me.

I returned to Ireland after a year spent in Italy and immediately set about the task of maintaining the discipline I had developed during my time in Florence. I drew from Bargue plates and painted constantly which ultimately led to my having gained entry into one of Dublin’s Galleries. It was only a few years later when an opportunity to attend the Academy of Realist Art in Toronto under the directorship of Fernando Friatas presented itself. There I learned and improved upon much of what my own self teaching could not supply.

For me the work is everything. There is a sublime poetry to be had in life and the complexity of its narratives and ideas, in the arrangement of a simple still life and the light that plays upon it during the day’s progress. I believe a good painting communicates this.

It occurs to me that an inability to faithfully render what is before us in the world will not only make what lies within the compass of our imagination an impossibility but compel the subject of our paintbrushes to resist revealing itself to us, not wishing to have its nature lost to the barbarity of accident and conceit.

“Joseph Dawson was born in 1976 and has yet to be seen without a paint brush in his hand. Having studied life drawing at Florence’s prestigious Angel Academy, Dawson went on to study the materials and techniques of the masters at the Academy of Realist Art in Toronto Canada under Fernando Friatas.
Joseph Dawson’s work has been exhibited in New York, Montreal, Sydney, Beijing and Dublin. He was also accorded the privilege of being commissioned to paint several presidential and commemorative portraits for the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland. In addition he has also completed a number of private commissions and his work can be counted among those paintings now held in many important collections.
As an advocate for a return to some of the more traditional values in painting, Joseph Dawson’s work characterizes many of its salient qualities from the dynamic play of sudden light against the tenebrous effect of shadow and a richness of colour to the careful laying in of semi transparent glazes and the use of a more robust impasto. Inspiration may bring an artist to the easel but it is patience and thoroughness and an understanding of the tools and materials involved that alone bring the work to fruition. With every painting, Joseph Dawson works to achieve a completeness and quality of finish that will finally allow him to put his brushes aside and say finished.” – Gormleys Art

“Painting is a way of seeing, an attempt to recall to mind the poetry of life, a poetry whose appreciation and recognition is, more often than not, hidden beneath a veneer of the habitual and the ordinary.” – Joe Dawson