Gertrude Stein Questionnaire: Dawn Gavin

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Originally from Glasgow Scotland, Dawn Gavin lives and works in Baltimore, Maryland. Her work investigates issues of identity and displacement, employing a range of media from collage and installed drawings to digital video. As an artist she has exhibited her work both nationally and internationally. She has shown at the Baltimore Museum of Art, The John Michael Kohler Art Centre (Sheboygen, MI), The Lamar Dodd School of Art, Gallery 307 (Athens, GA), The DCA Visual Research Centre (Dundee, Scotland), The Philadelphia Art Alliance and The Washington Project for the Arts (Washington D.C.). She is an Associate Professor and Graduate Director at the University of Maryland, College Park.

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Name: Dawn Gavin
Age: I will always be 10 minutes younger than my twin brother.
Occupation: Artist / Associate Professor at the University of Maryland, College Park.
Baltimore Neighborhood: Patterson Park (formerly Hampden).

Obsessive Collections: My inclination to accumulate comes directly out of my studio practice. I have a collection of ‘road kill’ butterflies that I began when I lived in Southern Illinois. I collect all types of maps, which are a necessity for my work. I have recently started to collect used passports. I also have a propensity to purchase sketchbooks and notebooks beyond my ability to fill them. Outside of the studio I take great pleasure in Royal Albert tea sets and my modest collect of small batch gins.

Currently Reading: ‘The Faraway Nearby’ by Rebecca Solnit and ‘Orfeo’ by Richard Powers. They’re both about proximity and distance, connection and disconnect.

Coolest Place You’ve Ever Lived: For a period of time I lived in Hospitalfield House, a 19th century baronial home that is run as a residential art center in Arbroath, Scotland. The house was left in trust by Patrick Allan Frazer who was a friend and contemporary of the Baltimore Sculptor Wiliam Henry Rinehart. The main gallery in the house has the marble sculpture ‘Clytie’ by Rinehart that is also in the collection at the BMA and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Hobbies: I started road biking a few years ago in order to do Ride for the Feast, which is a 140 mile bike ride from Ocean City back to Baltimore City, to raise money and awareness for Moveable Feast. I plan to do it again this spring, and need to start training or it’ll be a painful experience.

Favorite Food to Eat at Home: Kedgeree. It’s actually a breakfast dish, but I am happy to serve it at any time of the day. It consists of a flaked smoked fish in combination with rice, butter, hard boiled eggs, fresh parsley, cumin, turmeric and coriander. There are lots of variations on the recipe, so I don’t have a standard. There’s room for a little experimentation.

Favorite Food to Eat Out: My favorite place to eat is the ‘But ‘n’ Ben’ restaurant in Auchmithie, Scotland. Auchmithie is a former fishing village that sits perched on top of red sandstone cliffs, and overlooks the North Sea. It is about three miles north of Arbroath, and the best way to get there is to do the cliff walk from Arbroath along the coast. I always order the Arbroath smokie pancake. Smokies are a hot smoked haddock, that originate from the village. They do a fabulous Scottish cheese board, and their desert cart is to die for. If I’ve done the cliff walk, then I always feel justified in sampling more than one dessert. In Baltimore, my favorite restaurant is The Ambassador. I usually order the Shahi Korma with a Kashmiri Nan. The Ambassador reminds me of the many great Indian restaurants in Scotland, and I particularly love it when I am seated at a table close to the open fire.

Beverage of Choice: My go to drink at home is black tea with milk. Breakfast blend in the morning and Darjeeling in the afternoon. My adult beverage of choice is a gin and tonic. I am currently trying to explore small batch gins that are being distilled both in the States, and also back home in Scotland. My latest discovery is The Botanist, produced by the Bruichladdich distillery in Islay.

Political Leanings: I consider myself to be open-minded, reasonable, pro environment, a feminist, and currently on the fence about Scottish independence.

Favorite Baltimore spot to hang out: I bought a house last year, and I have become quite content to hang out at home instead of going out. I love being so close to Patterson Park to walk the dogs.

Pets: I have 2 dogs, and they were both rescues. Agnes is a 13 year old black and tan (and now gray) miniature pinscher/rat terrier mix who sometimes thinks she’s a cat. Emmeline (full name: Emmeline Pankhurst) is a 4 year old black and tan miniature pinscher. She was a stray that was picked up off the streets of Miami, FL.

Favorite Artist, Living or Dead: Andrei Tarkovsky.

Movie that Sums Up the Current State of Your Life: This is a hard one to answer. I don’t think that I can come up with a film that sums up the current state of my life. However, if my life were to be a film, I’d want it to be a comedy directed by Bill Forsyth.

Favorite Bad Habit: Bacon.

Mantra or Favorite Quote: “I reserve the right to change my mind.”

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