Category Archives: Other Artworks

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

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

“Orwell never ends well”.Bill Maher

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

Ceramics and Paintings of Ceramics 1992+

“Dunlop positions his paintings of ceramics in the tradition of still life; this choice acts more as a starting point for the visual research to contextualise it and provide a body of established expectations, against which his exploration can be reflected. Spanish and Dutch painters provide an initial range of subject matter, colour and the sense of tonal dominance.” – Professor Bernard Hoffert, Monash University, 2007

“[With regard to his paintings of ceramics] Morandi believed that no matter how long one worked on a painting, it had to be finished all over… all the shapes had to merge as though they were musical notes, enveloping the subject in one moment of time.”Lou Klepac

Works on Paper

“My affection for Eastern painting began in 1992, with a work called ‘Night and Day in the Back Garden’, purchased by Stephen Rainbird from QUT (the curator of the Bill Robinson collection). I became interested in a verticalised landscape, and one which involved the flow of water, and experiments with perspective.” – Richard Dunlop, 1994

The emotive richness of the works on paper conveys a rich sensuality, a feeling for paint as a vehicle for the celebration of emotion.” – Professor Bernard Hoffert, Monash University, 2007

“With its vividly endless stretches of terrain, dense rainforests encapsulating peace and serenity, and its bold, conquering ocean line, it is no wonder that artists embrace the Australian landscape. Richard Dunlop, whose artworks are now recognised internationally, pays tribute to its beauty. His depiction of the landscape and culture is true, and evocative of real emotion… this is an arts manifesto; it shows the excitement of marking the unexplored bumps of a fresh canvas for the first time.” – Sophie Mann, 2014

“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 can’t look at the complex botanical works of Dunlop without thinking of those lines and that “green age”.” Phil Brown, Art Critic

Tattooed Figures 1984+

While they are lesser known than his botanical works, Richard Dunlop’s paintings of tattooed bodies are in my view his gutsiest. Deliberately hovering between beautiful and tough, ‘high’ and ‘low’ art, they make a strong and original contribution to recent Australian painting.” – Michael Reid, 2006

“One of the boldest and experimentally-driven painters around at the moment is Richard Dunlop, currently exhibiting at and now represented by Tim Olsen Gallery in Sydney. For close to a decade, younger Sydney painters have picked up the ideational crumbs he has dropped  with his very original ‘organic’ approach to painting in five near sell-out solo exhibitions of tattoo and botanical/still life works at Ray Hughes Gallery across town. The term leading artist is thrown around far too readily, applied to artists who are simply fashion conformists or well behind some past international scene. Dunlop is the real thing,  and has been devoted to mining the poetic seams of East and West to create strikingly original images which straddle landscape and still life genres, plus judiciously navigate the fault lines of natural and artificial, fluid and solid, sensitive and muscular, fact and fiction.” – Sydney Morning Herald 2006

“Your tattoo paintings really do something to me, especially the balancing bodies with twisting limbs.” – Ben Quilty

“Backs of men are tattooed with various foliage; the figure enveloped by the overgrown vegetation. Delicately rendered reclining and suspended nudes are marked all over with the porcelain vessels that occupy the shelves of his still life triumphs. In this, Dunlop explores the interconnectedness of things; of nature, people, our creations and customs, and also of the timeless art genres of landscape, the nude and still life.” – Eric Nash, Perc Tucker Gallery (Catalogue Essay for ‘A Permanent Mark’)

“An illustrated form tells you through the intelligence immediately what the form is about, whereas a non-illustrational form works first upon sensation and then slowly leaks back into fact.” – Francis Bacon, London Painter

“Flesh was the reason oil paint was invented” – Willem DeKooning

“The blue butterfly is a common Christian symbol of redemption.” – Advice received from from Damien Hirst 1988

Monks by the Sea 2007 08

A move from inner-city Brisbane to coastal Sandringham prompted a memory of a great painting by the German Romantic genius, Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840) and his masterpiece in the Kuntshaus Berlin, Monk by the Sea, featuring an individual observing the infinity of nature. In an appropriately romantic way, it was purchased at the urging of a teenage prince who thought it was the most beautiful painting he had encountered. I wanted to complete a series of my own versions of Monks by the Sea (not of me by the way, but mostly of darkly-cloaked fishermen on the rocks at dusk).” – Richard Dunlop, 2007

“The great philosophers of the 18th and 19th centuries (Kant, Rousseau, Hegel and Mill) intellectually fertilised the first wave of Romantic painting generated in England (which in turn gave permission for impressionists in Paris), and emphasised emotion and poetic introspection as rational responses to the overwhelming pace of technological and scientific change underway in Europe. The international, intellectual neo-Romantic painting movement which began at the turn of the twenty-first century (including artists like Doig, Kirkeby, Ghenie and me as paid-up members) was predictable given the backdrop of dramatic political, social and economic upheaval, and the threat of war, following the historical pattern established in the late nineteenth century.” – Richard Dunlop 2007