"One of the most consistently inventive painters in New York."
– Dan Cameron
Abandoning all reserve in exploring intense themes and virtuoso painting, Carroll Dunham continues to pursue his psycho-animated narratives. The centerpiece of Dunham's exhibition is a 13-foot-long painting of an outsized green building cum ship afloat on a sea of splashy blue paint and enmeshed in a web of feint lines. Engaged in fierce battles along the "deck" and inside the "ship" are a cacophony of darkly-comic figures sporting extravagant head dresses, errant tufts of hair, exaggerated multi-purpose genitalia and threatening weaponry. Other paintings feature these "characters" in portraits, action close-ups and as outgrowths of landscape matter.
Dunham's bizarre species and their vicious behavior evolve within vividly evocative and distinctive color that is layered, patched and stained. Skeins of graphic shorthand further complicate the psychologically generated saga. Casting a humorous nod to popular cultural forms, Dunham combines a painter's regard for the conventions and history of the medium with a commitment to the exploration of subconscious drives.
Dunham's work has been widely exhibited since the mid-eighties, most recently at White Cube, London; Ghislaine Hussenot, Paris and the Saatchi Gallery, London. His paintings were included in the Whitney Biennials of 1985 & 1995, and in museum collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia; the Tate Gallery, London; and the Albertina Museum, Vienna. A retrospective of his work is being organized by the New Museum in New York.
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