Press Release

In N. Dash’s paintings, materials such as earth, paint, plastic bottles, string, agricultural netting, strips of Styrofoam, cast-off cardboard, and jute, are incorporated into complex, often multi-panel compositions that draw from the languages and methods of sculpture, photography, and printmaking. With a notable economy of means, N. Dash’s work expresses the tension between industrially produced goods and naturally occurring substances in an ecological vision that honors the land and its unseen energies.



International exhibitions

International Archives 1st half of 2022

N. Dash, earth

S.M.A.K., Ghent (Belgium)

24.06 - 06.11.2022




The ground for many of N. Dash’s compositions is earth from the desert, which is applied in smooth, graded surfaces that crack and fissure during the drying process, creating topological fields. These earthen grounds frequently serve as a base for various layers of ink, graphite, or paint, conjuring the sequential formation of planetary strata. This sense of geologic time is imbricated with materials that evoke biological cycles: N. Dash embeds and removes string from the smoothed-earth grounds, and coats lengths of cloth in pigment to act as wrapped or hanging elements, creating compositions that subtly blend diverse plant and mineral matter. 

A preoccupation with undoing and remaking is apparent in N. Dash’s practice of creating miniscule fabric sculptures. Working small pieces of machine-loomed fabric between fingers and thumb for long durations until the gridded threads collapse into suggestive, disorderly tangles, N. Dash literally unfastens a structured industrial product to create a new form that magnifies the power of touch, gesture, and ritual. Tiny in scale, gritty and stained, the abject qualities of these prelingual totems appear in finished compositions at a further remove: the fabric sculptures are photographed and then silkscreened as vastly enlarged versions of themselves. In this final stage, each sculpture’s protean strangeness acts as a projective device, in which a viewer may identify all manner of imagined forms. It is only one of the silkscreen applications that appear in N. Dash’s work that charge it with a polarity between industrial production conventions and the organic world.

At the center of N. Dash’s work is a commitment to the energy of transformation, movement, and care. Transcending a simple nature/culture binary, the earth grounds fracture and set as water changes state through evaporation; multi-panel compositions echo architectural blueprints and man-made shelters, even as the presence and impressions of embedded strings recall irrigation conduits or energy meridians. N. Dash’s more recent compositions incorporate new groups of ready-made everyday objects such as rags, rulers, and broomsticks—items used to protect, clean, and order. This simple attitude of custodianship lies at the heart of N. Dash’s compositions: by applying the energy of human touch and ingenuity, humble materials are transmuted into transcendent, vital forms. 

N. Dash was born in Miami, Florida in 1980 and earned a BA from New York University in 2003 and a MFA from Columbia University in 2010. N. Dash lives and works in New York and New Mexico.

Exhibition 24 June -06 November 2022. S.M.A.K., Jan Hoetplein 1 - 9000 Ghent (Belgium). T +32 9 323 60 01. Hours: Tuesday–Friday 9:30am–5:30pm, Saturday–Sunday 10am–6pm.






N. Dash, earth, SMAK Ghent, Belgium

© ArtCatalyse International / Marika Prévosto 2022. All Rights Reserved

View of earth, S.M.A.K., Ghent, Belgium, 2022. Photo: Dirk Pauwels.

View of earth, S.M.A.K., Ghent, Belgium, 2022. Photo: Dirk Pauwels.