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b. 1960, United Kingdom

Dexter Dalwood Biography

Dexter Dalwood is known for his paintings made from collage that draw from old photographs, historical artworks, and magazine images to recreate images from pop culture and historical scenes that often become unrecognisable post-configuration.

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Early Life and Education

Born in 1960 in Bristol, Dalwood spent his early life in Penzance, Cornwall, where his family owned a small bookshop. Between 1976 and 1778, Dalwood played bass for the punk rock band The Cortinas. Celebrity, its infamy, and idealisation would be recurring themes in his paintings.

Dalwood completed a BA at Central St Martin's College of Art and Design, London, in 1985 and an MA at the Royal College of Art in 1990. Among his early works are Kurt Cobain's Greenhouse and Brian Jones' Swimming Pool (both 2000), which reconstruct the places where the bodies of iconic musicians were found.

Re-Imagining History

Starting with collage, Dalwood merges historical and art historical elements with cultural references to produce an image with its own significance. 'The depiction of history is so subjective,' Dalwood notes in a 2021 conversation with Ocula Magazine. 'Our understanding of the past is deeply rooted in how we decide to construct a vision of the future.'

In 1996, Dalwood began painting imaginary spatial constructions. The first of these experimental paintings include Montaigne's Room (1997), in which he reimagines the French Renaissance philosopher's study, and Bridge of the Starship Enterprise (1998)

Dalwood's interest in factual and fictional spaces would cede way to the series of interiors inspired from political histories and popular culture, referencing artists from Henri Matisse to Clyfford Still. Endless Nights (2009), his solo exhibition at Gagosian Beverly Hills, showed thirteen paintings revolving around the deaths of well-known historical and fictional figures, such as F. Scott Fitzgerald's Jay Gatsby.

Thinking Painting, Painting Thought

Dalwood's paintings intentionally omit their subject matter to introduce an alternative reality or a fictional space. In Montaigne's Room (1997) and 2059 (anteroom) (2021), the owners of the interiors are nowhere to be seen. The vacated place offers a substitute image, while preserving the longing within personal and historical scenes.

In Dalwood's work, the image is often disrupted through physical re-arrangements and perspective to prompt questions about the process of image construction and its relationship to the history of painting. Pablo Picasso's Déjeuner sur L'Herbe (1960) hangs upside down in Dalwood's Bay of Pigs (2004), which references the US' invasion of Cuba in 1961, merging art history with political realities.

Exhibitions and Awards

Dexter Dalwood's paintings have been shown internationally. Selected solo exhibitions include 2059, Simon Lee, Hong Kong (2021); What is Really Happening, Simon Lee, London (2019); Ein Brief, Galerie Hubert Winter, Vienna (2017); Propaganda Painting, Simon Lee, Hong Kong (2016).

Selected group exhibitions include Modern Media Networks: Painting and Mass Media, Tate Modern, London (2020); The Elephant in the Room: Sculptures of the Marx Collection and of the Collection of the Nationalgalerie, Hamburger Bahnhof - Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin (2018); Michael Jackson: On the Wall, National Portrait Gallery, London (2018); Painters' Painters, Saatchi Gallery, London (2016); Here We Go, Karsten Schubert London (2013); Setting the Scene, Tate Modern, London (2012). Dalwood was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 2010.

Dexter Dalwood's website can be found here and his instagram can be found here.

Elaine YJ Zheng | Ocula | 2021

Dexter Dalwood
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Marquee by Dexter Dalwood contemporary artwork painting
Dexter Dalwood Marquee, 2012 Oil on canvas
101 x 124 cm
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