Vetri’s October introduction, Dawn Bassett, causes us to reflect upon the history of women in the fine and applied arts. With her large-format works in Tadelakt Plaster, Dawn is a trailblazer in her medium.
In her artist statement, Dawn shares, “Italian art history is replete with female muses. Male artists and artisans rendered the figures of women into frescoed ceilings and walls, figures which served as muses. Models. Inspirational objects, necessary inspiration, but never partners or artists in their own right. In a parallel story to glass in Italy, plaster was also allowed only in the hands of men and never women. Women were the subject, not the creator. Plaster is my muse. In particular, the oldest plaster, Moroccan Tadelakt, has my heart and soul. And in my hands, as a contemporary woman, I use it to communicate, and in turn, it speaks to me. We are partners. Equal. I cannot express myself better in any other medium or language. In my hands, plaster is not a building material or a traditional medium to only be articulated in the same way it has been for thousands of years. It has the potential to far exceed those limitations. I want to push them, entice them, and in turn: be seduced. Plaster is freed from walls, and I am free of the role of muse.”
With this exhibition, Bassett looks deeply at how this ancient medium has evolved. She brings a new perspective and new narratives to the application of Tadelakt plaster.