Gladstone Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of new paintings by Carroll Dunham. For more than three decades Dunham's artistic practice has continually engaged the growing tensions that underlie the act of painting and its art historical legacy. Following multiple courses from his animated metamorphic shape-making, lifted from the knotted surfaces of wood paneling, to the psychic inscriptions of the libidinal, Dunham moves skillfully over the ever closing gap between abstraction and representation. Probing the pictorial possibilities of this painterly paradigm, Dunham's visual language vacillates between the nameable and unnamable – an impulse that addresses the mutability of his motifs while recording the very stakes of this endeavor.
In these five paintings, Dunham revisits the pastoral landscape and the female bathers that he first established in 2009. Situated in varying ecstatic poses with arms extended out and upwards, legs submerged under translucent washes of bright and dirty blues and hair splayed in bold graphic lines, Dunham's figures are both in and of their surroundings, composed of recurring motifs that are at once subject matter and formal devices. In these works, several of Dunham's bathers are caught in transitive states, revealing newly composed profile and frontal views that not only register a shift in the pictorial plane, but also mark Dunham's own drive to excavate his visual vocabulary for alternative variables. In these works, Dunham pushes color, form, and line to build compositional pressures that complicate the primacy of the figure-ground relationship, employing unusual cropping and perspectival strategies that seem to entangle the bather and her environ in an irrepressible interplay of exuberant geometries.
Carroll Dunham was born in 1949 and currently lives and works in New York and Connecticut. He has been the subject of numerous one-person exhibitions, including a mid-career retrospective at the New Museum in New York and an exhibition of paintings and sculptures at Millesgården in Stockholm. His work has been included in several Whitney Biennials and in “Disparaties and Deformations: Our Grotesque,” SITE Santa Fe’s fifth biennial curated by Robert Storr. In 2010, the University Art Gallery at the State University of New York, Albany presented a survey of Dunham’s prints. An upcoming exhibition of new works on paper will be on view at Patrick de Brock Gallery in Knokke-Heist, Belgium, opening April 23, 2011.