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Dawn Steeves: "Capturing Salty Towers"

November 19, 2022May 28, 2023

I first stayed at Salty Towers in the summer of 2018 during a two-week art retreat in Saint Andrews, New Brunswick. In the evenings I remember returning to “Salty” after class and Jamie Steel, the intrepid innkeeper, would have refreshments already on the go as guests were beginning to gather in the great wraparound front porch, chatting about their travel adventures.

Everything about Salty Towers inspired me. It felt homey and lived-in. It was a shining example of Maritime hospitality and was overflowing with fascinating objects, old furniture, artwork everywhere, and a deep sense of New Brunswick’s history. The windows and doors were always open, and the summer breeze and sunlight flooded the rooms, hallways, and various spaces. Every evening after class and on the weekend, I would fill my sketchbook with Salty Towers drawings. The building became my muse.

In November 2021, I went back to Salty Towers to take photos and gather references for this project. I set out to incorporate as many visual and material elements from this quaint and charming residence as I could. Ninety-six images are depicted in oil paint, and 110 in black ink. I chose paper as the medium because of its hint of impermanence, the fleeting nature of memory, and because this journey really began on paper, in my sketchbook, during that very first visit. I soon received the news that Jamie and his partner Deb had sold the inn, and there was a sense of urgency to faithfully “capture” its every nook and cranny.

Dawn Steeves (she/her) is a painter and visual artist whose work is included in numerous corporate and private collections in Canada and the US. She is the recipient of four grants from artsnb and a Charlotte Glenncross Scholarship. In 2021 she participated in a four-week residency at Kingsbrae International Residency for the Arts (KIRA) in St. Andrews, New Brunswick. Her work has been exhibited at The Beaverbrook Art Gallery (Fredericton NB), The Andrew & Laura McCain Gallery (Florenceville-Bristol NB), and the Saint John Arts Centre (Saint John NB).

Dawn is dedicated to maintaining a robust studio practice, developing a unique palette in oil paint. She produces work that reflects her life and the people and spaces around her, linking past to present. Her subjects include figures, portraiture, interior settings, and landscape. Working primarily in oil paint, Dawn also practices in ink and charcoal.

Curated by John Leroux and organized by the Beaverbrook Art Gallery.