‘Working the Stasis’, by artist Dawn Felicia Knox, is an exploration of the tension between objects and the biological processes that work to degrade them. The point of investigation is Hadrian’s Wall, stretching across Northern England. The monument, surrounding settlements and artefacts found there appear as if unchanged after thousands of years. This is the result of an army of curators, volunteers, rangers and conservationists who work endlessly to preserve them. Knox has been working with English Heritage and Northumberland National Parks documenting the work done and collecting all the biological specimens that are removed to stop the processes of decay. The project has resulted in three interlinking exhibitions. In addition to ‘Tending the Shadows’ at Vane, there are interventions at Chesters Roman Museum and Birdoswald Roman Museum on Hadrian’s Wall.

In ‘Tending the Shadows’ Knox exhibits a series of red velvet panels originally from Chesters Roman Museum. The panels, installed in the museum in 1950, were sumptuous but the velvet was not lightfast. After 38 years of exposure to light, it turned to shades of yellow with the only original red pigment remaining in the shapes of the artefacts.

In addition to the panels, Knox is showing a series of cyanotypes created from collected specimens such as dust, insects and plants. Both the panels and the cyanotypes represent the form of the specimens and artefacts while highlighting their absence and the passage of time.

‘The Archive’ at Birdoswald Roman Museum and ‘The Process’ at Chesters Roman Museum run from 22 June to 14 September 2015.

The project is funded by Arts Council England and English Heritage. Go to www.stasis.dawnfelicia.com to learn more about the project.

Dawn Felicia Knox was born in New Mexico, USA, and currently lives in Gateshead. She is an artist and curator working across media and disciplines. She uses photography, paint, found objects, sound and sculpture to create multi-layered works that reinterpret archives and found narratives, bringing them into a wider discussion about art, science, myth and identity. Working in collaboration with scientists, academics and other artists, she is drawn to the parallels in processes and investigative techniques, often creating work that blurs the lines between intent and outcome. She has shown her work in a wide range of traditional and non-traditional venues, including the Great North Museum and the Castle Keep, Newcastle upon Tyne, the Rotunda Museum, Scarborough, the School of Museum Studies, Leicester, St. Mary’s, York, as well as projected across derelict mines and the 200 foot-high cliffs of the Yorkshire Coast.

Artist’s talk: Wednesday 8 July 2015

Dawn Felicia Knox will be in conversation about her work with Frances McIntosh, Curator of Roman Collections, English Heritage, and Matthew Hearn, freelance curator and writer, about her work in the gallery on Wednesday 8 July.