“Collage is a new element within Dunlop’s oeuvre. The artist has created large paintings that incorporate collaged reproductions of nineteenth century botanical illustrations. These re glued down to a plywood substrate, torn edges and meeting points between the sheets marking out a haphazard grid, and forming a tacit homage to one of Dunlop’s most admired artists, Ian Fairweather, who used sheets of cardboard abutted against each other as a painting surface. Over these paper records of old world/ new world discovery and exploration, Dunlop has applied his characteristic swathes of colour in broad brushstrokes, where meandering linear marks flow through the compositions to unite the disparate elements contained within.” – Marguerite Brown Curator MFA
“Collages take you more directly to the hand of the artist and deeper emotions of the hand-made and modesty of means.” – Advice from Mark Bradford
“If you are prepared to enter the microworld of one of Dunlop’s paintings they are worth the experiential journey, unlike a body of pictures being made by anyone else today.” – Evelyn Prusenhauer
“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 the watchwords, he chooses invocation.” – Dr Jonathon McBurnie
“Dunlop’s contribution to the nation’s painting discourse is an entirely original one in which he has consistently incorporated, intersected and challenged the long-established landscape, botanical, figurative and still-life traditions.” – Eric Nash
“The reef series presents Dunlop with a whole new set of challenges, most evidently the treatment of light, and the possibilities of landscapes that don’t simply stretch to a horizon but also extend above and below. Undoubtedly attracted to the challenge, Dunlop acknowledges the reef as a relatively untouched landscape subject offering a subject to play around with depth and space and multi-perspectives of levitating fish. Dunlop employs translucent films of colour, juxtaposed and intermingled with more defined marine life forms, to handsomely approximate the underwater dance of light – a shadow play in which depth perception in every direction is disarmingly distorted, and solid edges are constantly flickering and shifting with refractions triggered by every movement of both form and ocean.” – Eric Nash Curator
‘Ned by the Mighty Murray’ (After Nolan) – 12 works on board 30 x 180cm being created in late May-June during an artist’s residency at Ned’s Outback Station, Victoria. Return here in late June to see them.
“Dunlop’s is a refreshing approach to painting [and its intersection with photography], an authenticity of vision and voice that has allowed him to resist fashions and trends, periods and fads, orthodoxy and conformity – all trappings of the current gallery dynamic which sees many curators follow a proven style of the period rather than taking significant and consistent risks to present new ideas.” – Eric Nash Curator, Centre for Contemporary Photography
“Unlike forms of rational discourse, art conveys meaning by reshaping the world and presenting it to us in a new form. We apprehend this reshaped world with the same combination of senses, imagination and intellect that we use to perceive the real world.” – Christopher Allen
This series was completed from photographs taken at Dunedin’s Natural History Collection, New Zealand. It is a unique collection well worth visiting.
Note: These can be viewed like film stills accompanied by a few minutes of music.
“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
“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
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.