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Donald Young Gallery

Exhibition Detail
224 S. Michigan Ave.
Suite 266
Chicago, IL 60604

February 18th, 2011 - April 9th, 2011
February 18th, 2011 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
, Jeanne DunningJeanne Dunning
© Courtesy of the artist and Donald Young Gallery

Jeanne Dunningʼs new still lives are classical: sumptuous arrays of fruits and
vegetables, bread, cheese and wine are arranged on dark drapery, seeming to
anticipate a leisurely feast and to celebrate the opulence of the harvest. The still
life genre is intertwined with the vanitas tradition, with foodstuffs often depicted
in the early stages of spoilage and taken as reminders of lifeʼs impermanence.
Dunning takes this to an extreme in these works, where decay and deterioration
have been given free reign. These images serve as a far more extreme reminder
of our own mortality than even the traditional still life. More time has passed, the
decomposition is more advanced, and it has taken on a life of its own.

Dunningʼs work has long explored our ambivalent and often contradictory
feelings towards our own bodies, including our attachment to bodily ideals over
imperfect reality and our denial of our own mortality. These images exhibit
similar contradiction and ambivalence, with growth perplexingly co-existing with
dissolution. Seemingly fresh tomatoes dangle from a mold-covered vine. Turnips
sprout new florescent green shoots even as they decompose. Burgeoning crops
of mold bloom into explosions of colorful polka dots or overtake bowls of fruit like
luxurious pelts of fur. The mold and corruption simultaneously seduce with their
beauty and repel as grotesque and contaminated, creating a powerful tension in
this work.

Jeanne Dunning first came to prominence as an artist in the late 1980ʼs and
early 1990ʼs with a series of photographic and video works that delve into issues
surrounding the body, gender and sexuality. Her work has been widely exhibited
internationally during the intervening years. Most recently, her project Tomato
Fight was staged at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in November. She
lives and works in Chicago and this is her first exhibition at Donald Young

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