A formalist by nature, Dunham's drawings are studies in control, confidently moving between abstraction and figuration, bold mark making, and elegant scribbles and swirls. Refined over thirty years, Dunham's line has become a character in itself; nothing is accidental, whether executed in gentle pencil shading, reckless crayon scribble, or painterly ink and gouache. The drawings' protagonists have evolved over time from amorphous amoebas, oozing out of cluttered masses, to what are now more fully developed male and female nudes in exchange with lush landscapes. Several of the earliest works on view (1982–1984) are executed on wood veneer, a trademark material used in Dunham's early paintings and drawings. For many of the next 20 years, Dunham's depiction of biomorphic forms equipped with grinding teeth, phallic noses, top hats, daggers, and guns dominated his visual language. These rough figures and mutated growths are pure expressions of unbridled sexuality, idleness, violence, and confusion, struggling to come to terms with the landscapes they have been placed in by their maker.Read More
Carroll Dunham was born in New Haven, CT in 1949 and currently lives and works in New York and Connecticut. He has been the subject of numerous one-person exhibitions, including at the Museum Ludwig, Cologne; a mid-career retrospective at the New Museum, New York; and an exhibition of paintings and sculptures at Millesgarden, Stockholm. His work has been included in several Whitney Biennials and is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, NY; Art Institute of Chicago, IL; Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA; Tate Gallery, London; Whitney Museum of American Art, NY; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago amongst others.
Text courtesy Blum & Poe.
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