Artist Gabriel Dawe Interview for​“WONDER” at the Renwick Gallery

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  • Growing up in New Mexico, Gabriel Dawe was surrounded by strong gender stereotypes. This interview explains how his work, including "Plexus A1," responds to these stereotypes that surrounded the textile world.

    GABRIEL DAWE: I’m Gabriel Dawe, and I’m an installation artist based in Dallas. I’m here at the Renwick installing my piece, “Plexus A1.” I’m working with sewing thread, and this series of installations are all made out of sewing thread. They’re basically these architectural structures made with the core material of clothing.

    I started working with textiles as a way of challenging notions of gender identity. I grew up in Mexico City, and there’s a lot of notions of mature culture that forbid me to play with textiles when I was a kid. As a grown man I decided to challenge those notions of identity.

    This work is always site specific. In this particular case, I have quite an interesting challenge with the four columns. I use an extension pole with a tool I developed that works as a giant needle, and it’s just stretching the thread one strand at a time. There are thousands of connections between hooks in the floor and hooks in the ceiling. It’s somewhere around 55-60 miles of thread. It really makes people react in very authentic ways. These structures are so ethereal that they look like frozen rays of light. The point of departure is always the full-spectrum. It’s always making that reference to light.