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Anzac Memorial Works 1992+

“Those that I fought, I do not hate
Those that I guard, I do not love.”
W. B. Yeats, An Irish Airman Foresees his Death, 1918

“Dunlop displays an ability to express through visual media profound sentiments that defy easy rationalisation. This seems to derive from an intuitive source that shifts from work to work, rather than a consistently regulated one. It is this almost poetic impulse that contributes to the tender beauty of these paintings, which is nevertheless tempered by his acknowledgement of dark, unknowable spaces that exist alongside it. Dunlop cites a drive through Victorian country towns during the ANZAC day period in 2010 as the spark of genesis for this exhibition. As an artist who for many years has sought to reinvigorate the still life genre, witnessing the floral wreaths laid at the base of stone monuments and noting the tension between the ephemeral, decaying wreaths and the solidity of the stone had a resonating impact. These rituals of the living to honour the dead have a kind of didactic function, a way of consistently reminding society about the horror of war in order to avoid its recurrence. Yet perhaps more important to their conveyance of meaning is the tragic beauty encapsulated by the slowly fading wreath, as though by the steady progress of time something once alive is reduced to dust, air and matter. These memorials form a gentle but pervasive metaphor for a greater context.” – Marguerite Brown, 2011

“Ultimate excellence lies not in winning every battle but in defeating the enemy without ever fighting. The highest form of warfare is to attack strategy itself… The place I intend to attack must not be known. If it is unknown, the enemy will have to reinforce many places. The enemy will reinforce many places, but I shall attack few… Do not thwart a returning army. Leave a passage for a besieged army. Do not press an enemy at bay.” – Sun Tzu The Art of War 6th Century BC

“Northern Tasmania is probably the most beautiful, idyllic, unspoilt, safe place on Earth right now.” – Xi Jinping, Supreme Leader briefly visits Tasmania, 2014

“The Vietnam War produced the best soundtrack of any war. The Falklands, nothing to show for it.” – Ricky Gervais

Stradbroke Island Florilegium 2011

$2,800 for each work in the series (unframed). Free delivery within Australia.

Portraits

“Like a favourite artist, Otto Dix, I believe portraits are only worth painting when there is an intuitive sense of some inordinate major changes looming in the subject’s life. That’s when the person is caught in their own headlights, exhibiting vulnerabilities that only last for so long until they regain their balance.” – Richard Dunlop 2002

“As the word itself implies, vision is a matter of seeing, and seeing comes from looking; if an artist has the potential for any kind of original vision, it will be found only by patient and humble attention, and the concomitant, simultaneous effort to crystallise what is understood in concrete form. For what is ultimately seen is through rather than on the surface of things, and the artist must reshape the world to make visible what he has perceived by intuition.” – Christopher Allen 2014

“The portrait of me by Richard Dunlop, Tim Olsen: The Man in Black, hung in the 2008 Archibald, was my Dorian Gray moment. Once a handsome young man, by then the sins, weaknesses and the decadence of my life were written all over my face, exposed in the most visited exhibition in Australia, for the whole world to see. It is the darkest, most lugubrious version of a beaten-up art dealer who has been poisoned by celebration. Expressing my amazement that it was hung at all to Edmund Capon, he replied: ‘It does have a certain likeness. He’s really captured you.’” Tim Olsen, Son the Brush, (Allen and Unwin) 2020

 

Arsonist Landscapes 2001+

Private collection

Apart from fires caused by natural events, arson is a crime which continues to plague rural Australia, combated by courageous volunteers, and here depicted in extensive nineteenth century style neo-Romantic panoramas in the manner of Eugene von Geurard. Sigmund Freud wrote a seminal essay on the psychology of arsonists in 1932, linking it with the myth of Prometheus, punished for stealing fire from the Gods.

Easter 1986 The Deposition of Christ

“Exponential advances in science and technology, especially in learning how to compartmentalise nature has assisted its rapid exploitation and depletion of diversity. It would be difficult to hold any religion for quite that much devastation.” – Richard Dunlop, 1986

“This series of small paintings now comes to resemble the hooded figures tortured in Abu Ghraib prison, but they were completed well before that, more in conversation with European art history rather than a subscription to any religious ideology.” – Richard Dunlop, 2014

“When he said in the police examination that he would have sent his own father to his death if that had been required, he did not mean merely to stress the extent to which he was under orders, and ready to obey them; he also meant to show what an ‘idealist’ he had always been.”  – Hannah Arendt, Eichmann and the Holocaust

2014

“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

“Water shapes its current from the lie of the land.” – Sun Tzu c. 551-496 BC; Joshua Wong

“Paint the living universe, this sun, this cloud, this rain, this tree, this animal, this day, this hour, this wind, this kind of earth, this kind of water, this sound in the grass, this pitch of wind, this anger, this confusion, this silence, put it all in there eventually”. – Advice received from Ugo Rondinone

“With Goya Nights (Witches in the Air) and related works, featuring Ku Klux Klan figures which transcend national and ethical boundaries, the artist’s expectation of the rise of the new right international politics precedes other artists, and just like Goya’s mature political subtleties, is likely to be regarded as a seminal series.” – B. Schwabsky

Animal Farm 1990+

Animals, and in particular, rhinoceros beetles are a recurring image in Richard Dunlop’s paintings where they intersect with themes of taxonomy, museology and changing identities and histories. Richard’s paintings represent traces of unreliable memories, circumstantial evidence and documentation of people, objects and events.”  Ian Galloway (Director, Queensland Museum), 2005

“The young pointer can no more know that he points to aid his master, than the white butterfly knows why she lays her eggs on the leaf of the cabbage. I cannot see that these actions differ essentially from true instincts.” – Charles Darwin, 1859 On the Origin of the Species by Means of Natural Selection

“Dunlop’s enduring response to the idea of connection, and as connected sentient beings humanity’s responsibility to be the good gardeners of our environments. This is a quiet missive, rather than a political statement and as such it resonates deeply with the viewer, like an experience of beauty that is felt rather than rationally understood.” Marguerite Brown Curator MFA

The Thaw: Waterfalls of Switzerland and France 1999

The strong sense of physicality is underscored by the artist’s expressive application of paint and by the way he clearly presents to the viewer the whole process of making a picture. One notices the progressive accumulation of pigment and forms, the way each veil of colour, shape or meandering line has been set down either to abut its neighbour or to overlap the layers underneath.” – Sue Smith, 2001

Everything seemed so clear-cut, so polished. The symmetrical beauty of the farms, laid out like toys; the fields of mustard of so unbelievably a pure yellow… then there were the mountains! I had never imagined anything so grand. Each time I looked at them I experienced a shock of fresh delight.’ – Ian Fairweather describing Switzerland (where he lived from aged 16-18 at boarding school)

NB: The images of works that form this series are incomplete

South Western Queensland Drought Drawings 1984-85

Exhibited at Spring Hill Gallery, Brisbane in 1985, these are the remaining drawings from that period.

Between 1984-86, I lived in Roma in South-Western Queensland, and assisted “one-teacher” schools from Dalby to Thargomindah during a severe drought. To break the drive, I’d sketch some of the animal victims of the drought or “road kill” on off-cuts of acid-free art paper, as an update of Nolan’s works from an earlier drought.” – Richard Dunlop, 1986

“I oscillate with my eyes backwards and forwards until I get the points of reference… the line is always wrong, never essential. My experience has taught me that you can only draw after you have painted for fifty years. Remember a child taking its first step, thinking “How far am I from my mother, will I fall?” Now having urged you to imagine that, I have adjusted your eyes like an optometrist. Now you can see.” – Oskar Kokoschka’s advice about starting a drawing offered to adult art students, 1962

Village People, Brisbane 1987

Set price: $32,000

“Duly noted by a handful of artists, a precursor to much of the political art which followed in Queensland in the 1990’s.” – Michael Richards

“Richard Dunlop’s Village People series documents Spring Hill in 1987, a time when it was a low-income suburb where he worked, populated by prostitutes living in ramshackle wooden houses. As a teacher, he would regularly check the playground for drunks and the homeless. It would not be unusual to find gay men bashed looking like roadkill to him. He used to offer to call the police but more often than not, it was the police who did the bashing with impunity from the law. Many of the works are painted from memory, depicting the people he encountered directly or close by. They are sketches that seem to be etched into the oil on the paper and in their flatness are documents of the powerless immersed in their endurance of pain or people immersed in life.”  – Kevin Wilson, Curator, QUT 2018

Among other characteristics, Brisbane in the late 1980’s is a city in which Police relish bashing and tormenting gays, while “illegal” prostitution and gambling is overseen by corrupt Police and the State government. Although not by nature dogmatic, gay, a client of prostitutes or gambling, or awe-struck at all by anything  less than clearly rational  authority, the unfolding role of the State in relation to the individual unfolding affected me. This prompted a series of small paintings of Brisbane Village People and what is likely to become a lifelong interest in painting people (especially tattooed people who choose to declare their identity with permanent marks), but I also have an interest in depictions of interior and exterior landscapes, hybridised with the concerns of other painters, some from other centuries.” – Richard Dunlop, 1988

“I think all good painting looks as though the painting has escaped from the thicket of prepared positions and has entered some sort of freedom where it exists on its own, and by its own laws, and inexplicably has got free of all possible explanations.” – Frank Auerbach 1988