Dawn DeDeaux: Bittersweet

Arthur Roger Gallery is delighted to announce the opening of Bitter Sweet Crust, a thought-provoking exhibition of works by the renowned artist, Dawn DeDeaux. On view from April 1 to June 17, 2023, at the Arthur Roger Gallery, 432 Julia Street, New Orleans, the show marks DeDeaux’s ninth exhibition with the gallery. The opening reception, with the artist in attendance, will take place on Saturday, April 1, from 5 pm to 8 pm.

DeDeaux’s current exhibition Bitter Sweet Crust is influenced by her long interest in ecology and specifically here, the globalization of agriculture—often cited as a starting point for the Anthropocene, the earth’s current epoch. Industrialized agriculture fueled the forced transportation of enslaved people from one side of the Atlantic to the New World to farm crops that were in turn shipped back across the ocean. Starting centuries ago, the ramifications still gravely impact social and environmental justice and the fallout shapes the discourse of contemporary life. Of all of the cash crops, nothing rivals sugarcane: it was very labor-intensive, and sugar was highly valued. It changed the world and its inhabitants.

In the main gallery, DeDeaux addresses the impact of sugar in a series of two-dimensional works printed on mirror and aluminum titled Sugar Shimmers. Her digital drawings of sugarcane plants become progressively more abstract, alluding to both the crop’s history, its addictive allure, and new intersections with technology. Within these life-size works, viewers become self-reflective and part of the work’s visual narrative. The transatlantic trade is revisited in a work titled Moving the Ocean which combines an 18th-century wooden cart hauling a cast of what seems to be a section of a shimmering ocean surface.

With her series of archeological-like portraits of corroded farming tools, DeDeaux reminds us of a not-so-distant past when early humans pulled ahead of other life forms with the invention of tools, and our agrarian roots. The rear gallery offers a final large-scale work titled Tools Departing Definition. DeDeaux has created a twelve-foot lightbox with both 2D and 3D tools that seem to be in motion, moving towards the obsolete, where the forged metals return to the stardust from which all of the earth is made.

Dawn DeDeaux is an accomplished New Orleans-based artist who has exhibited throughout the country, including at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Armand Hammer Museum, the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, MASS MoCA, and the New Orleans Museum of Art. Her groundbreaking work as a new media artist has been reviewed in national publications. DeDeaux is a recipient of the Rome Prize as the Knight Foundation Visiting Southern Artist and 2013 Artist in Residence at the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. 

For more information please contact the Arthur Roger Gallery at 504.522.1999 or visit our website at arthurrogergallery.com.