Tom Dunn

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Mesopotamia #8, 2015 Oil On Canvas 16 X 20 Inches © Tom Dunn
Mesopotamia #36, 2016 Oil On Canvas 72 X 56 Inches © Tom Dunn
Mesopotamia #38, 2017 Oil On Canvas 16 X 20 Inches © Tom Dunn
Mesopotamia #39, 2016 Oil On Canvas 24 X 24 Inches © Tom Dunn
Mesopotamia #42, 2017 Oil On Canvas 16 X 20 Inches © Tom Dunn
Mesopotamia #54, 2017 Oil On Canvas 16 X 20 Inches © Tom Dunn
Mesopotamia #60, 2017 Oil On Canvas 24 X 24 Inches © Tom Dunn
Mesopotamia #61, 2017 Oil On Canvas 24 X 24 Inches © Tom Dunn
Mesopotamia Diptych #3, 2017 Oil On Canvas 2/ 72 X 56 Inches © Tom Dunn
Mesopotamia Drawing #2, 2016 Charcoal On Paper 18 X 24 Inches © Tom Dunn
Mesopotamia Drawing #2, 2016 Charcoal On Paper 18 X 24 Inches © Tom Dunn
Mesopotamia Drawing #23, 2017 Charcoal On Paper 18 X 24 Inches © Tom Dunn
Mesopotamia Drawing #24, 2017 Charcoal On Paper 18 X 24 Inches © Tom Dunn
Quick Facts
New York, NY
Birth year
Lives in
Los Angeles, CA
Works in
Painting, drawing, sculpture and video
Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, 2010, Bachelor of Fine Art Honours Degree
Victorian Collage of the Arts, Melbourne, Australia, 2002, Bachelor of Fine Art (Painting)
RMIT, Melbourne, Australia, 1998, Diploma of Fine Art (Painting)
Representing galleries
pop, installation, video-art, performance, modern, photography, figurative, conceptual, sculpture
Tom Dunn


Tom Dunn is an Australian artist who lives and works in Los Angeles.  Tom received his Bachelor of Fine Art from the Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne, Australia in 2004 and got an Honors degree in Fine Art from Monash University, Melbourne, Australia in 2010.  Tom has done residencies at Vermont Studio Center, VM, Starry Night, NM, Birch Creek Residency, UT, RAID Projects, CA and at LOSTprojects in the Philippines and AIR Tou Scene in Norway.  Tom has exhibited throughout Europe, Asia, the US and Australia and has been the recipient of the Artstart Grant, the Australia Council of the Arts and the Copyright Agency Limited, Creative Industries Career grants.  Tom was recently nominated for the inaugural CES Gallery Residency in Los Angeles and the 2017 Rema Hort Mann Foundation Grant.  Tom is a member of Durden and Ray Los Angeles.


My art practice has two sides. I make expressionistic paintings and drawings that embrace chaos and the irrational.  I also make narrative sculpture and video work based on rumours, scandal and innuendo from the world of entertainment.  Both sides of my practice are informed by the grotesque.

Painting and Drawing
The imagery in these works derives from the subconscious and is often characterized by grotesque attributes such as doubleness, hybridity and metamorphosis.  Paintings are begun without pre-determined ideas. Through a process of gestural mark-making and 'playing around', images suggest themselves in the mess and are brought to the fore.  These elements either speak to other parts of the painting and suggest a narrative or they are plowed back in until new ideas emerge.  This approach seeks to enable apophenia, the tendency to perceive connection or meaningful patterns within random data.  The process is akin to trying to paint what you see in a Rorschach test back into the inkblots.  

Despite being an atheist, I've always been drawn to religious art, mythology and symbolism.  I consider the desire to conjure or exorcise images primordial.  I like to think the ritual of painting is comparable to forms of alchemy or magic in that they are mixing elements, putting images next to each other (Tarot) and looking for signs and narrative.  Having always been attracted to the gravitas of religious iconography and symbols but never having had a belief system my hope is to develop my own loose mythic iconography.  

For me, the painting ritual is a form of atheist revelry in which the lack of purpose for the work (nothing to express devotion to) contributes to my investment of meaning in the process and the pleasure I take in it.

Narrative Work
I'm interested in the traditional role of the grotesque in Medieval carnival with it's emphasis on participation and role play and how this contrasts with how we consume entertainment today.  

Theorist Mikhail Bakhtin states that the essential principle of grotesque realism is degradation, the lowering of all that is abstract, noble and ideal to the material level.  In making works that allude to gossip that exists in the public imagination, my narrative work plays with the baggage that viewers bring to the subject.  Rumors are often fan generated and frequently reflect nefarious desire and Schadenfreude: the pleasure people take in other people's misfortunes.

These sculptures and videos often explore points of convergence between a film (fiction) and the secondary narrative of the personal lives of the players involved (tabloid/ 'reality') and how knowledge of one can affect the reading of the other.  These works either blur the line between the two or they nod to it in the form of a one liner.  

These art objects represent narratives that are amorphous and ephemeral by nature.  The works are about the role of entertainment and what it means to be amused.  They are about how an entertainment industry caters to an audience that is no longer sanctioned to participate, when the carnival is over.  This side of my practice is a form of fan art that is informed by the carnivalesque notion that it is a fundamental right to participate in the never-ending human comedy.



Address:   327 ½ S Ave 20, Los Angeles, CA 90031
Phone:      323 477 9521

New York, NY
Lives and works in Los Angeles, CA

Bachelor of Fine Art Honors, Monash University, Melbourne Australia
Bachelor of Fine Art (Painting), Victorian Collage of the Arts, Melbourne, Australia
Diploma of Visual Art (Painting), RMIT TAFE, Melbourne, Australia

Book club: Going Native, Durden and Ray, Los Angeles, CA
Abstraction in the Singular, Bentley Gallery, Phoenix, AZ
Round Won, Durden and Ray, Los Angeles, CA
The Collectivists, The Brand Library & Art Center, Glendale, CA
Native:Tokyo, Gallery Lara Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan (exchange with Durden and Ray)
MAS Attack, Torrance Art Muesum, Torrance, CA
Slippery Stories, Durden and Ray, Los Angeles, CA(exchange with Strange Neighbour) 
Shift and Fade (Curious and Curiouser), BLAM!, Los Angeles, CA
Native, Durden and Ray, Los Angeles, CA
Mondrian Died for Our Sins, BLAM!, New York, NY
Slippery Stories, Strange Neighbour, Melbourne, Australia (exchange with Durden and Ray)
Dada: Here & Now, San Francisco International Arts Festival, ATA, San Francisco, CA
UFOlogy, Outpost Projects, Yucca Vallery, CA
stARTup Art Fair, Highland Gardens Hotel, Hollywood, CA (representing Torrance Art Museum)
MAS Attack, Tempe Fine Art Complex 1101, Tempe, AZ
Miami Projects, Durden and Ray, Miami, FL
From the Barricades, Kreuzberg Pavilion, Berlin, Germany
Here!, Durden & Ray, Los Angeles, CA
Within the Cave, Durden & Ray Projects, Los Angeles, CA
MAS Attack12, San Diego Art Institute, San Diego, CA
After Eden, MuzeuMM, Los Angeles, CA
Dragnet, Manhattan Beach Art Center, Los Angeles, CA
i:23, Yokohama Triennial, various locations as part of Homing Pigeon, Yokohama, Japan
The Great Wrong Place, Notre Maar, Exchange Rates Expo, New York, NY
MAS Attack, Santa Monica Studios, Los Angeles, CA
MAS Attack, Torrance Art Museum, Los Angeles, CA
MAS Attack, Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, CA
Amazonia Sexy Beast, MABINI EXTN, Manila, Philippines
Artist Residents Open Studios + Screening, 1335MABINI in conjunction with LOSTprojects and Planting Rice, Manila, Philippines
LA Road Concerts, Mulholland Dérive, Mulholland Drive, Los Angeles, CA
Platform LA Fair/ CO/LAB, RAID Projects, Los Angeles, CA
RAID Artist Residents Exhibition, RAID Projects, Los Angeles, CA
Utah Ties, Central Utah Art Center, Spring City, UT
Milk of Magnesia, Hope St Studios, Melbourne, Australia
Ich Commen Spaiter, 91mq Project Space, Berlin, Germany
Lives of Our Days, Resident Artist Exhibition, Northcote Studios, Melbourne, Australia
Iconoclast, Brunswick Street Gallery, Melbourne, Australia
The Keith and Elizabeth Murdoch Traveling Fellowship (finalist), Margaret Lawrence Gallery VCA, Melbourne, Australia
Lurking... There, There, Red Gallery, Melbourne, Australia
VCA Graduate Exhibition, School of Art, Victorian Collage of the Arts, Melbourne, Australia
Do You Come Here Often?, Red Gallery, Melbourne, Australia
RMIT Graduation Show, Project Space, Melbourne, Australia

Barbra Streisand Portrait Bender, Las Vegas: Fear and Loathing Returns to the Flamingo (screening and book launch) Human Resources Los Angeles, CA
Polanski's Baby (screening), Loop Bar, Melbourne, Australia
Robert Downey Jr. Is Dead (performance/ site specific event), Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood & Robert Downey Jr's driveway, Malibu, CA
Devil's Workshop, c3 Contemporary Art Space, Melbourne, Australia
Quentin Tarantino Thinking About Uma Thurman's Feet, Tarantino’s Bar, Berlin, Germany
More is More III, Spacement Gallery, Melbourne, Australia
Recent Paintings, 69 Smith Street Gallery, Melbourne, Australia
Recent Paintings, 24/7 Gallery, Melbourne, Australia

CES Gallery Residency (nominated), CES Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Art Start Grant 2013, Australian Council of the Arts, Australia
1335MABINI Contemporary Art Space, Residency and mentorship program with David Griggs/
LOSTprojects, Manila, Philippines
Copyright Agency Limited, Creative Industries Career Grant, Australia
RAID Projects, Los Angeles, CA
Central Utah Art Center (residency), UT
Vermont Studio Center, VT
Starry Night Artist Retreat, NM
The Art of Hospitality, AIR Tou Scene, Stavanger, Norway
Spacement Gallery, Melbourne, Australia


France USA Media, Le Ben Franklin Post, "Tom Dunn: 10 Jours avec Barbra Streisand" []

Fabrik Issue 26, "Fresh Faces in Art: Eight Los Angeles Artists you Should Know"

Art and Cake, “Slippery Stories” at Durden and Ray

The Huffington Post, "Within the Cave" at Durden and Ray

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