Category Archives: Paintings By Year



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 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


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


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


“Dunlop bridges the divide between the natural and the artificial or the organic and the inorganic. This relates to Dunlop’s earlier works where he has explored hierarchical authority and its abuse by church and state. In this way, the works may refer to the state body, the body politic, all bound and revealed by the body of human knowledge.”Beth Jackson, Griffith University, 1994

“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



“I thoroughly enjoyed Richard Dunlop’s recent exhibition at your gallery. Dunlop’s growing achievement interpreting landscape has no real parallel among the work of his contemporaries, dealing as it appears to do with the stubbornly unfashionable subject of natural beauty converging subtly with environmental and broader moral concerns. I think his work will survive beyond the current fixation with the passing parade of narcissistic identity politics in which some artists opportunistically see a parade coming down the street and jump out in front. If anyone needed reminding of my favourite Keats quote “Beauty is truth, truth beauty – that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.” – Professor Bernard Smith 1998

“Everything is collapsing and transforming deep inside the picture” Per Kirkeby, 1998

“You make it look so easy”   Del Kathryn Barton, 1998


If on the one hand Dunlop’s paintings are essentially handsomely composed planes of colour on canvas, on another, some of his works in the present show are as psychologically charged as a visionary landscape by Giorgio de Chirico or Yves Tanguy. Time and space have little reality in paintings which present almost surreal associations of images and ideas. Children’s toys, fish, vegetables, birds and kitchen utensils, the artist’s paintbrushes and the art works of friends and strangers, are all presented rising elusively from nebulous surrounds. These objects are spread before us as if in a land of dreams. – Sue Smith, 2001