New Works by Dini Dixon
Curated by Sophie Morris
March 16 – April 22, 2018
Ever since the ancient clay body has come in contact with the high art world, it has been marginalized as a “less serious” craft medium, apparently only useful in the construction of the humble functional vessel, assumed unable to achieve representation of ideas, abstractions, or genius. Utilizing the feminized material of ceramics, Dini Dixon creates objects that represent the projection of masculine identity and examines what it means to be cool, powerful, heroic, strong, and taken seriously.
Vessels are about the outside and inside, much like humans. In this way, clay easily talks about identity as an internal, felt experience which constantly interacts with the reciprocal outward projection of one’s self.
Painting has a long history of attempting to discover “mystic truths”. A general critique of the medium is that it’s a way for society to recognize male genius (Renaissance), or for artists to cultivate a macho persona (abstract expressionism). The facade of ceramic belts and trophies, now fragile due to their material, might similarly represent masculinity as a shell, mask, or contradiction. This discussion of the gender binary, whether in relation to art media or personal identity, can quickly turn into the old punk adage “I am not a soup can so don’t label me”. Gender is one easy way to help you talk about “who you are”, but it only goes far enough to describe the ways individuals do or don’t fit into society. Gender can be anything, but contemporary gender and identity terminology keeps evolving to include more boxes and definitions as opposed to becoming more amorphous. It’s much more interesting to talk about when, where, and why your identity is true and when it is a projection.
Present day life, colored by social media, is frequently experienced against a backdrop. Everyone is their own curator, building and enhancing their malleable identity depending on their aesthetic. Creative blogger types use millennial pink, punk boys use fluorescent lighting and intellectuals use the art museum, and if you don’t have social media you’re not exempt, similar results can be achieved with clothing. This doesn’t mean everyone is fake, it means we are complex, creative, self-conscious bowerbirds, unable to exist in a vacuum devoid of societal influence. Maybe the argument is that humans (and art) rarely exist without “presentation” or the possibility for voyeurism (an inherently corrupt lens). Dixon exemplifies the way identity can be molded, shaped, and played with. Even through societal lenses, we are anything but static, and every facet of our identity is subject to change.
Dini Dixon was born in Santa Barbara, California in 1991. She received a BFA in Ceramics from Pratt Institute in 2015. Working as both artist and curator, she has been involved in numerous exhibitions in New York, California, Colorado and New Mexico. She lives and works in Brooklyn, New York, where she currently serves as a Ceramic Technician at Hunter College, and Film Desk Associate at Museum of Modern Art.