Visual artist Mallory Dawn is currently transfixed by cultural patterns. A peek at her Instagram account reveals image after image of her typical female muses—many recognizable faces of the social media-popular model set—adorned with rich and colorful designs painted over their bodies.
“I’m working on a ton of pattern exploration and understanding how patterns shape cultures and how other cultures recognize them and identify with them,” Dawn says.
For her latest commission, a 10’ by 10’ piece made of roughly 3,000 hotel room keycards for The Cosmopolitan, she took on a different type of pattern. Using three different styles of keycard, Dawn arranged the pieces to create an image of the female form from the lips down.
“I love painting women. I think that I relate to them, but they’re also just so emotional and evocative.” — Mallory Dawn
“From far away, it’s a sensual woman,” the Ohio native says. She’s been living in Las Vegas since 2008. “The closer you get as you’re exploring it, you’re seeing that it’s keycards. The two patterns that were created and the placement of the patterns make the whole [work] look like it’s a bunch of different pieces.”
Dawn used about 450 feet of copper wire to sew the keycards together. Though they play into the design and make up the majority of the image, she painted over some parts using translucent white and black paint to bring it all together.
As for the title, Dawn came to it after finding herself in an internet rabbit hole. “I found this law, it’s called the “Identity of Indiscernibles.” My dumbed down version is that even if two things look the same, their properties make them different—either their relationship to the things around them or where they are.”
The name is also a nod to the resort’s reward program, Identity, and its skeleton key logo is on many of the keycards used in the piece, which is the second commissioned artwork for The Cosmopolitan that Dawn has completed. The first, a mural of Gigi Hadid, is located in its Howard Hughes corporate offices, while “The Identity of Indiscernibles” is on property near the entrance of Marquee Nightclub.
“I love painting women,” Dawn says. “I think that I relate to them, but they’re also just so emotional and evocative. I get a lot of reward out of that, and I feel a lot of connection to others through that.”