Wax is Dawn Finchamís prime material, it provides her with the ideal aesthetic beauty she has been looking
for with its silky smooth clean contours. It also gives her various levels of translucency depending on its
thickness and colour, and its changeable characteristics mean that no two paintings will ever be the same, translucent, sumptuous and almost edible creations result.
However, the pieces are designed to challenge personal perceptions of our surroundings. As human beings we rely upon 5 senses (6 if you include proprioception) to define the space around us, but
of all our senses sight is dominant when assessing a new environment. Commonly an individual defines their
environment by a me/not me concept, with a boundary which is their own skin. By changing the space a
person is enclosed by, with colour and texture as well as physical form, Dawn is hoping to stimulate a
relationship between inner and outer space; causing an individual to think about their environment on a
conscious level, rather than the subconscious one on which our senses usually influence us. The necessity
of thinking about the space around us, by it s very nature, breaks down the barriers between me and not
me and includes us as an integral part of our surroundings and with that comes the realisation that not only
do we affect these surroundings but that they affect us on physical, mental and emotional levels. On some
level, every person wishes to identify with others, but ultimately feels inherently different in a manner not
easily translated into speech.
These ideas have been distilled in recent works to bring the involvement of space to a less esoteric level, one in which the viewer s attention is drawn to everyday situations. These scenes are not necessarily part of a certain individualís personal experience, but are tales that are woven through the world in which we live
everyday. In order to accomplish this Dawn uses a combination of images of empty spaces along with text
describing a situation or scenario. She wants to entice the viewer to react to the text and then imagine the
play unfolding in successive paintings - theatre of the mind. She hopes that the viewer will become part of
the artwork, creating their own scene. She also uses subtle appealing colours that give the work a beautiful
feel. However after reading the text the viewer is given a new perspective. The contrasting and sometimes
symbiotic nature of the appearance and textural content of these pieces is deliberate in order to involve the
viewer on an immediate visual level which then allows a transference into the story.
In some pieces the inclusion of type that is deliberately taken from philosophical works which challenge our
perceptions is further intended to enforce the link between senses and thoughts which are usually fleeting
and insubstantial. Dawnís main influence in these works is a book called The Poetics Of Space by Gaston
In others, braille is utilised, an immediate and physical representation of the concept that no individual is conscious of their entire environment, since unless we are able to engage all our senses (touch in the case of braille) certain aspects of our surroundings remain intangible.