Unequal and unbalanced power captures my attention. I am working through source imagery from opposite ends of the authoritative spectrum – the hoodie, Josephine Baker, military uniforms, corporate mascots, and the pulpit. I blend and conjure a nonexistent middle ground as a sort of whimsical indictment. This parody of authority often results in portraitive abstractions. An implied head functions as an identity that can't quite be.
An essential element of my process is to gather information through site visits, fieldwork, and archival research. Recent investigations have included the racist origins of dunk tanks and a 1930’s suburban housing development repurposed as an internment camp for Parisian Jews. I am drawn to overlooked incidents in history or unacknowledged contemporary events. These small, marginalized narratives often contain subtleties and complexities that dissolve boundaries between good and bad, victim and aggressor, beginning and end. Questions arise when the moral of the story is sabotaged.
I depict my imagery with an improvisational, gestural approach and a limited but sophisticated colour palette. I intend to temper the weight of my subject matter with lyrical, clumsily seductive line, form, and colour. I distill futility and failure into formal playfulness. I do not aspire to epiphany; I choose instead to highlight, satirize, and impugn.
Jason Dunda is a Canadian painter living in Chicago. Trained as an oil painter at York University in Toronto (BFA) and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (MFA), he is currently working on a suite of paintings based upon his research on social and political events of the past and present. Outside the studio, he is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where he teaches studio and seminar classes in the Contemporary Practices and Arts Administration and Policy departments.
His work is represented in the collections of Todd Oldham, the Agnes Etherington Art Centre and the Doris McCarthy Gallery at the University of Toronto. Recent projects include a solo exhibition at Slow in Chicago, a group drawing survey at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and a four-month research and production residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris funded by the Canada Council for the Arts.
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