humber street gallery, hull.
no one knows me like dawn from the job centre plays on the humour written into our mediated perception of working class life, but does not forego, firstly, the humanity and deeper sense of compassion in “knowing” somebody, and secondly, the tragedy of a bureaucratic system where human sympathy is disregarded. dawn is the human face of a governmental structure, and is tasked with the decision-making process of qualifying a person for their job seekers allowance or no. the title of culver’s show constantly nudges a reading of the work that is diaristic – each painting cataloguing a chapter of liaison with dawn, full of laughter, anecdotes, sadness, and overshadowed by the shame, the distraction and the desire to be rid of a state-supported living that is conditional and irreverent to the daily concerns of the people who it aims to help. dawn represents the opportunity for new beginning, but similarly the cycle of dependence. her character in the exhibition is illusive, benevolent, but at times ominous. she represents struggle equally as much as she represents freedom.