Creeping Thistle (Cirsium arvense) Black, 2019, wild thistle, milk paint (water, cassein, chalk, limestone, charcoal); inkjet print mounted on Di-bond

61 x 53.3 cm (framed), edition 5 + 1AP

installation views

In Between and Through Fences

by Andrea Valentine-Lewis

Andrew Dadson

Green Piece

organized by Andrea Valentine-Lewis 

29 September – 20 November 2019

opening reception: 28 September 4 - 8pm

artist talk: 20 November 7pm


Unit 17 is thrilled to present Green Piece, a solo exhibition of never before seen photographs by Andrew Dadson. This work was created over the summer throughout an empty lot within the 2950 block of West 4th Avenue in Vancouver. This site, the former location of a chain restaurant, is currently a transient space where unplanted plant species flourish and temporarily encourage new ecosystems.


Green Piece consists of several inkjet prints mounted on Di-bond that document the artist’s painting at this specific site. These works are initiated by physically marking the lot with biodegradable earth pigments of no more than a few inches. Highly detailed images are then stitched together of various grasses, clovers and thistles, among other plants.


Dadson has often used the act of painting to critique and reflect upon the marks, both insignificant and catastrophic, that humans leave upon the environment and use to communicate. Unlike some of the artist’s previous painted landscapes that have focused on larger surface areas, Green Piece closely articulates distinctive traits of the individual plant species that have persevered through the site’s many shifts. Each work becomes its own jungly terrain of intertwined stems, leaves, buds and fibers.


Contrasting his previous application of exclusively black or white pigments to highlight various sites, Green Piece introduces coloured pigments made with ingredients such as cochineal, ochre and indigo. In the large-scale work Black Medic and Foxtail Barley (Medicago lupulina and Hordeum jubatum) Pink, the unplanted species from the clover family is painted in a vibrant pink pigment. Within the outer perimeter of the image, unpainted sections of yellow flowers with rounded leaves and dried grasses stretch into the centre of the inner painted image. Dadson’s use of pigment against this shifting and fading landscape expands his interest in notions of framing and the changing nature of space in the face of time.


The works in Green Piece highlight a temporal space for unplanted species and their short-lived existence within “in-between” sites. They consider the conditioning of land and histories of species categorization.


Andrew Dadson (b. 1980) graduated from Emily Carr University of Art + Design in 2003 and currently lives and works in Vancouver. Dadson has exhibited widely in solo and group exhibitions. Most recently at the Contemporary Art Gallery (2017), Polygon Gallery, both Vancouver (2017), Galleria Franco Noero, Turin (2017) and as part of Parcours, Art Basel (2016). Dadson has upcoming solo exhibitions in Seoul, South Korea and Toronto, Canada (both 2019) and is currently a finalist for the Artisti per Frescobaldi Art Prize 2020 held in Tuscany, Italy.