Elise Dawson graduated from the School of Fine Art at the University of Manitoba in 2012 where they served as president of Students of Fine Art and was a founding member of Chesterfield Magazine, a freely distributed publication curated from emerging artist submissions. Since graduating, Elise Dawson has been employed within the film industry and commercial art galleries in Winnipeg and Toronto. Currently, they are responsible for art inventory and photography at Mayberry Fine Art. Dawson is an active champion of their artistic community. They previously served as Chair of the Board of Directors at Mentoring Artist's for Women's Art. They continue to work with local arts organizations such as CARFAC Manitoba, First Fridays Winnipeg and Creative Manitoba in the promotion of artists. Elise Dawson completed MAWA’s Foundation Mentorship program with Val Klassen as well as brief mentorships with Ming Hon (Performance) and Diana Thorneycroft (Bodies of Work). They presented a solo exhibition at Flux Gallery in 2016. In 2017, Elise Dawson completed a six-week artist residency in Puebla, Mexico which closed with a public performance on Día de Muertos, at Decentered Gallery. They were a 2017-2018 participant of ace.art.inc’s Cartae open school program when they published their first collection of poetry, “SEX DEATH AND/”, a raw examination of loss and desire. Recently, Dawson was a new media artist in residence at videopool.
My conceptual practice positions photography, painting and collage as an ontological inquiry. I investigate the capacity of images not just to document a basic reality, but to manipulate and extend it. I am interested in art as a site of self-reflection and in any sense of self-consciousness that heightens a viewer's awareness of the artistic medium and the artist’s intent. My work crosses disciplinary boundaries, collapsing both digital and analog mediums. I adopt the look and format of the document for aesthetic purposes and to challenge the presumed neutrality of those forms. By intentionally borrowing, copying, and altering preexisting images, I can call into question the original artwork’s authenticity– endowing these second-hand images with novel interpretations. I believe identity, like an artwork, is not fixed but rather a concept with multiple meanings, inviting reevaluation and new narration. Brené Brown, a research professor who has spent the past two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy, argues practicing critical awareness is as much about spirituality as it is about critical thinking. I am an artist invested in understanding the being and becoming, even the echoes, of art and self.