Category Archives: Paintings By Year


Images coming after James Makin Gallery exhibition “Images of Eden and Elsewhere” 29 May – June 15 2019 Opening Night 31 May – All welcome


“The northern Tasmanian wilderness is one of the world’s undiscovered treasures.” – Xi Jinping, Supreme Leader, China 2019 (translated from Mandarin)

“[Dunlop] is emphatic in the fact that his sole goal is to put something beautiful in the world; something that was not there before.”Frances Vinall, 2019

“Dunlop’s imagery has an unusual feeling. He is not simply painting a landscape, but cracking it open, his eye swimming in to find the specific components, and how they are constructed. There is a sense that Dunlop is pulling things apart with his work, fragmenting and reforming to understand what it is that he sees.”Andrew Harper, 2019

“Each painting asks its own set of questions.” – Cecily Brown 2019


“Much of Dunlop’s work is an inquiry into the human need for order and control, and escaping into his fictive worlds – which only seek to assume a sense of reality, and in doing so, transcend it – they can act as a circuit breaker for the viewer so that they may instead see the interconnectedness of things; not only of art traditions to each other, but also of person to place, culture to nature, the finite to the infinite, and memory to experience.” – Eric Nash, 2018

“Like Fairweather, Dunlop is attracted to Eastern philosophy, particularly the Taoist vision of the intertwined relationship between nature and man, heaven and earth. For me, Dunlop’s work is spiritual although he’s a practical fellow who expresses no spiritual aspiration in conversation. He allows the viewer to add layers of meaning and I cannot help but regard his work as inherently spiritual. That spirituality is encapsulated in his vision of the life force that flows through everything. Dylan Thomas wrote about that in his poem The Force that Through the Green Fuse Drives the Flower. That force, wrote Thomas, “drives my green age”. I cannot look at the complex botanical works of Dunlop without thinking of those lines and that “green age”.” – Phil Brown, 2018

“All a poet can do is warn. Art is an exceedingly slow but very effective long-term means of communication across a century or more.”Wilfred Owen, 1918

“One cannot help but think of Dunlop as an artist with a keen eye for detail and composition, but rather than create work slavishly to these watchwords, he chooses invocation.” – Dr Jonathon McBurnie, Director Perc Tucker Regional Gallery 2018

“A highly original voice in Australian art destined to be blue-chip.”Steve Cohen, art collector, USA, 2018



“When you paint something it becomes a fact.” – Peter Doig


The Perfumed Garden is a lush and almost mystical work that has layers of paint and layers of meaning. His paintings are not literal. They are composites constructed through memory and are imbued with love.” – Phil Brown


“Powerfully, even poignantly themselves as these objects may be – utterly present as phenomena of the known world – they seem endowed at the same time with the status of emissaries from another more ‘real’ one, which we recognise but could not name. It is in this sense that they might be said to approach the sublime. But to put it in those terms we must intend by “sublime” what lies mysteriously beyond the limits, beyond the threshold of what we can grasp, of where we have actually been – though not where, in moments of delight and enlightenment, the awakened spirit may take us.” – David Malouf, Being There, 2015 (quoted with the kind permission of the author, 2015)

“His luminous botanical paintings juxtapose then meld the traditions of both East and West to present us with an overwhelming fecundity of nature’s beauty. This master of seduction plays at the intersection of conventions of poetry, landscape and still life to create a luminal space for the imagination. This allows the viewer to invest Dunlop’s works with his or her own interpretations of life, death and immortality.”  Dr Christine Dauber, University of Queensland, 2015

“Richard Dunlop has had a successful career as a contemporary artist for a sustained period of more than twenty years. In this time, he has been at the forefront of painting’s resurgence in popularity and appeal, and has never been shy of breaking with established art conventions, such as his blending of elements from botanical illustration with still life and landscape traditions.” – Eric Nash, Perc Tucker Gallery 2015


“The aesthetics impress as usual. Richard’s paintings are always gorgeous to look at and they continue his quest for truth and beauty in a visual language he has painstakingly developed. A language that is earthy and transcendent. Richard invents his painterly environments often alluding to the nuances between water and life, which is a very Taoist idea.” – Phil Brown, 2014

“The winner of the painting prize was Richard Dunlop, an artist of considerable standing who creates what he self-consciously terms a “neo-romantic Australian landscape”. The artist enjoys combining traditions in art, blending the empirical studies of the natural science illustrations of the nineteenth century with inventive Romantic explorations of the natural world to create something of a personal pictorial mythology.” – Professor Sasha Grishin, Sydney Morning Herald 2014

“One of my favourite sources for emergent trends.” – Fanny Tsai


“The function of the artist is to describe the world in the first person: this is my life, this is my set of experiences. If you get twenty-five or thirty people like Bill Robinson, Joe Furlonger and Richard Dunlop who describe their world in the first person and you weave them together you start to get some sort of fabric of our society. I’ve got a basic belief that the eccentrics, the mavericks, the one-offs are the real artistic mainstream.”  Ray Hughes, 2002

“Remember, there is never just one trend going on in art, never just one feeling. Mondrian and Matisse lived at the same time, together with Klee and Soutine. Old man Monet painted his water lilies while Cubism was being invented and after it was left behind.” – Andre Emmerich, The Art Dealers



Having returned from living in Switzerland, and a divorce, I had no studio at the time in Australia, but was offered one in a wooden building with “tongue-in-groove” walls to which I stapled canvas (also being unable to afford or store “stretchers” in the short term). I was initially frustrated that the impression of the tongue-in-groove walls would persistently “show” through otherwise finished “botanical” works. I decided to just submit to it, and completed a series of tabletops in a vertical format like Chinese landscapes, working from the top of the canvas down the walls. Until I could afford the stretchers, some of the (more autobiographically interesting, in my opinion) paintings reveal the impression of the tongue-in-groove wooden walls on which they were made.  Richard Dunlop, 2000

“Art is a human activity consisting in this, that one consciously, by means of external signs passes on to others the feelings that one has lived through, so that other people are infected by these feelings but more importantly, experience them. It doesn’t happen often.” – Leo Tolstoy


Richard Dunlop’s show at Ray Hughes Gallery gently envelopes you as you walk in, inducing a mild, pleasurable sensation of which Matisse might have approved. The overlay of lianas dividing the surface into Matissean arabesques works well, as do the fine lines etched into the leaves with a nail.” – Sebastian Smee, 1999

“Since 1992, I’ve strived to conceive images which I regard as a fresh contribution to the Australian landscape painting tradition, drawing on ‘Asian’ verticalised views of landscape rather than a rather hackneyed European panoramic view. So many of my pictures are intended to be ‘read’ from the bottom up, and with a tension between macro view and micro-details like the best of neo-Romantic painters or 19th century botanists. But it’s not an exclusive interest. I dislike artists that have as an overarching goal the creation of a strong ‘brand’ which taps some current fashion or pot of money. The best painters in history ignored that stuff, maintaining long-distance eyes both to the future and past. The sediments of time revealed their voices to be almost inadvertently distinctive of their age.” – Richard Dunlop, Catalogue for Hinterland, Ray Hughes Gallery, 1999

“Mondrian died in New York in 1944 at the age of seventy-four, before he could finish his Victory Boogie-Woogie. The highest price he ever received was $600 for Broadway Boogie-Woogie… Out of the exhibition of deKooning’s Women, only one or two sold, and those for around $1800. Pollock never enjoyed the sweet smell of success; an eighteen-foot painting called One was sold in 1952 for $8,000, which was to stand as the greatest amount we received for a Pollock during his lifetime.” – Sidney Janis, The Art Dealers


“In his exhibition, ‘Lung Capacity’, Dunlop assembled literally hundreds of small canvasses in strict rows. Some of them were placed in an arbitrary sequence, while other small groupings were composed of very carefully placed sets of small painted works. Upon reflection the viewer had a sense of being surrounded and overwhelmed by the works. The gallery became the artist’s territory which is no mean feat at the best of times. Here the work owns the walls on which it is placed. The eye makes its own connections from one piece to the next and endless variations arise – endless possibilities occur.” – John Nelson

“I’ve just purchased Richard’s Night Garden: Rising Damp and the Promise of New Growth. It’s as powerful and brooding a painting as anything I’ve seen at any Biennale.” – Louise Mitchell, Director, Artspace, The Gunnery, 1997

Dunlop’s painting has always been intelligent and it has always had significant content. The viewer has to work harder to unearth his meaning. In their derivation and method, these are highly introspective images.” – Michael Richards, 1991

Richard Dunlop uses the domestic garden as an image for the interplay between the human impulse for orderly processes of control and classification, and nature’s inherently disorderly processes of development through trial and error. There are real species, contrived species, ambivalent species such as carnivorous plants, and ambiguous organisms whereby the evolutionary decision to be plant or animal has not yet been taken; all are linked together through networks of vines and tendrils which both connect and entrap.” – Leonie Stanford, 1996

“The gardener is someone who paints with forms. The excellent form produces a harmony of the faculties, which prompts us to label the garden beautiful.” – Emmanuel Kant

“To paint one must be alone. I cannot become involved with people. I paint for myself and have no sense of mission, nor do I feel any compulsion to communicate, though naturally I am pleased when it seems I have done so.” – Ian Fairweather