One of the earliest artists in the Chicken House was Verne “Bubba” Dawson. From Saluda, NC, Bubba focused on ‘the inner world and our earliest origins’. As Victoria Miro writes, “Verne Dawson weaves the prehistoric past into the present embracing the vast history of some 30,000 years.
From the Whitney Museum of Art, the following review details Verne’s work: ‘Born 1961 in Meridianville, Alabama Lives and works in Saluda, North Carolina and New York, New York
Verne Dawson investigates the continuities between ancient culture and contemporary life through myths, folktales, and traditions that have vanished or become detached from their origins and meanings. Dawson is also concerned that we have lost our connection to the natural rhythms that governed our ancestors’ lives. In Pagans, on view in 2010, he explores multiple traditions invented to explain natural phenomena, particularly those relating to astronomy. On the four sides of the canvas, each season is represented by its corresponding modern-day pagan figure: winter is represented by Santa Claus, spring by the fool, summer by the Green Man, and fall by death or Dracula. They hold playing cards representing their calendrical significance. Also represented, among others, are Mother Goose, Little Red Riding Hood, Mary and her lamb, Jack and his beanstalk, Jack and Jill, the three men in a tub, Old Mother Hubbard’s shoe and her children, and Jason’s ship Argo. At once utopian and apocalyptic, Pagans combines myths and fairytales to argue for the regenerative qualities of a culture in harmony with nature.’