Mike Chavez-Dawson is an artist, curator based at Rogue Artists’ Studios, Manchester, UK.
Chavez-Dawson’s interdisciplinary practice reworks the visual language of art history and cultural institutions as a tool to de-code the structures of cultural reverence and the role of the artist as mischief maker, rule breaker and activist.
His activities are based on an interest in belief and power systems that explore themes of value, meaning, and cultural creative conviction.
://: Below are a set of fragmented thoughts - in and around our work. ://:
“Yet it is the multitude of art ecologies (galleries, museums, institutes, project spaces, artist-led initiatives both commercial and non-commercial, etc.) and their agency as [being] custodians for modes of critical engagement and valuing cultural pursuits, and their ability to propose questions that is at the heart of both my solo and collaborative endeavours.
“However, it is the continual habit of cross-referencing a variety of disciplines, narrative structures and interpretative motifs that invigorates both my works and methods — that seek to question the interplay between where an artwork begins and where it ends or, more succinctly, where its legacy and parameters are located.
“Continuing the legacy of going beyond the familiar outputs of digital, video, installation and performance, my choices of materials and media for sculptural and 2D-based works include reclaimed office furniture, closed-down libraries’ desks, chalkboards, shelving, old publications, point-of-sale ephemera, signage (posters, flyers, vinyl), household paint, craft card, children’s poster paints, rugs, chairs, marine ply, veneers, OSB Board, neon acrylic, laser etching. These materials are often imbued with various modes of commerce, knowledge exchange and storage, DIY, early creative craft, and institute interpretation material.
“These parameters are pushed, pulled and reassembled in each presentation of our work, seeking to harness the ‘process-led’ nature of art production - so terms such as ‘propositional’, ‘multi-part’ and ‘durational’ become ways to describe what is presented, but also as an attempt to consistently present revised works.
"The provenance of the materials used, the methods of production and the collaborators utilised in the works construction are implicit in both the myth and meaning of the work.
“The increasing trait in my work sees us continually plundering ‘art's’ constructed mythologies whilst being drawn to the esoteric, and the mania of the artistic process.
Mike Chavez-Dawson, 3/23
CV & Education
Letter of support:
David Gledhill Co-Director of Rogue Artist Studios; Letter of Support Re: Mike Chavez- 28th June 2022
As co-director of Rogue Artists’ Studios, I would like to offer my support and recommendation for Manchester- based artist, curator and lecturer Mike Chavez-Dawson. Mike has been a studio holder at Rogue since 2001 and I have both followed and collaborated with him in his various roles as an artist, curator and arts writer for over two decades.
The quality, diversity and tenacity of his practice, works, shows and projects have engaged both a broad range of creatives and a wide viewing public. His recent project, co-curated with fellow artist Simon Woolham, ‘Drawing In Breathing Out’ at Rogue Project Space was lauded by Charu Vallabhbhai:
‘Drawing In Breathing Out’ is curated with subtlety, intelligence and sheer boldness in drawing together an outstanding selection of works whose themes interweave like a complex web, drawing the viewer in. It’s a simply breath-taking addition to A Modest Show and mustn’t be missed.” (Ref: https://www.thefourdrinier.com/a-modest-show-drawing-in-breathing-out-at-rogue-artists-studios 06/2)
This ‘expanded drawing’ exhibition included both well established and emerging artists from the region, alongside an engaged programme of talks, workshops, events and live performances, Mike also worked closely with Headspace (a neurodivergent film charity based in Bolton) to document the show.
Mike’s notable shows include ‘The Kiss of a Lifetime’ which he instigated and curated at Rogue Project Space. This show involved over a hundred artists from a breadth of disciplines and career stages, later toured to VANE as part of the Northern Print Biennale and was also featured in various art periodicals and the BBC News. (Ref: https://www.vane.org.uk/exhibitions/the-kiss-of-a-lifetime)
The critically acclaimed touring show ‘Unrealised Potential’ was reviewed in Art Review (printed), Frieze (archived), White Hot Magazine (https://whitehotmagazine.com/articles/august-2010- unrealised-potential/2107 ), the Guardian as well as TV & Radio. Again, for this project Mike worked with over a hundred artists, from the emerging to the internationally renowned, and this successfully toured from HOME (Cornerhouse) to two other venues (NGCA Sunderland and VOID Gallery Northern Ireland).
(Ref: https://homemcr.org/exhibition/unrealised-potential/ , https://www.unrealisedprojects.org/volume-6/northern-gallery-for-contemporary-art/ , https://www.unrealisedprojects.org/coming-soon/void/ , https://www.unrealisedprojects.org/events/anti-design-festival/)
The above shows I contributed to as an artist, and Mike’s enthusiasm, professionalism and creative vision made the experience a positive one throughout.
Additionally, Mike has developed some extraordinary collaborations and pioneered innovative outputs. With his solo show ‘Fountain, fountain…’ at Bury Sculpture Gallery & Art Museum, he collaborated with pioneering structural engineers Atelier One, creating a 20ft suspended inflatable cinema sculpture based on Marcel Duchamp’s’ Large Glass section ‘A Cinematic Blossoming’. The interior accommodated a screen showing film trailers by other artists questioning the relevance of Duchamp’s infamous readymade ‘Fountain, 1917 – 1964’, amongst other works.
(Ref: https://sarajaspan.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/fountain-fountain-by-mike-chavez-dawson-exhibition- catalogue.pdf & https://themeteor.org/2017/10/26/manchester-artist-channels-the-spirit-of-duchamp-and- dada/ )
Mike was one of the first artists to fully embrace the laser cutting machine, and as part of a AA2A scheme, he devised ways to archive a variety of his performance-based projects.
(Ref: https://aa2a.biz/network/user/mikec/album/218 )
More recently Mike has produced a series of liquid chalk drawings and UV print treatments for several shows. (Ref: https://issuu.com/ellamarshall/docs/is_20seeing_20believing & https://60plus10.com/gallery/ )
Mike consistently collaborates with local businesses, such as the major solo show he curated of acclaimed artist David Shrigley ‘How Are You Feeling?’ at HOME (Cornerhouse)
(Ref: https://homemcr.org/article/david-shrigley-brain-bread-anyone/ & https://homemcr.org/exhibition/david-shrigley-how-are-you-feeling/ )
Here Mike instigated numerous collaborations with Tea Cup - a David Shrigley Anti-Psychotic Tea (which raised over a £1,000 for Manchester MIND Mental Health Charity), Baked - a Shrigley Anti-Psychotic edition freshly baked Bread (for the duration of the show), alongside a talk and book signing at Magma Bookshop.
As a practitioner Mike has demonstrated a consistently high-level of inclusivity and I am confident that he will deliver far-reaching and ambitious outcomes, both in terms of breadth of engagement and artistic quality. For that reason, I can wholeheartedly recommend him…
David Gledhill Co-director
Rogue Artists’ Studios CIC
• 'Unrealised Potential' for HOME, NGCA, VOID Gallery in Derry, 2010/11
• 'The Kiss of A Lifetime' Rogue Project Space, Manchester, UK, 2012,
• 'Magda Archer Crazy Mad', HOME, Manchester, UK, 2012
• 'How Are You Feeling? David Shrigley' , HOME, Manchester, UK, 2014
• 'Fountain, fountain...' at Bury Sculpture Gallery & Art Museum, UK, 2017
• 'Drawing In - Breathing Out' Rogue Project Space, Manchester, UK, 2022
These have been on a regional and national level. I was awarded the open call prize for:
• The Whitstable Biennale, Kent 2008
• Hull Capital of Culture, 2017
Performance-based projects as one-off events:
• Subversive Spaces at The Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, UK, 2008
• Shezad Dawood Presents Late at the TATE for Altermodern, TATE Britain, London, UK, 2008
• Surreal House at the Barbican, London, UK, 2010
• In the Days of the Comet, British Art Show 7, Nottingham Contemporary, UK, 2011
• Title Murdered for The Storey Gallery, Lancaster, UK, 2012