Category Archives: Paintings By Year


“Only when one is standing at exactly the right angle can you see and comprehend a new thing fully and for the first time.”Lao-Tzu 6th Century BC


“Virtuosic sense of place, of Tasmania… honestly, I don’t get how you do that.” – Stephen Lees

“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, Art Dealer, Sydney and New York, 2020

“Dunlop’s work here is very much about fragments [of North Tasmania] that seize his attention and there’s a lot of movement captured in them – birds drift across a distant estuary, a waterfall gushes and sprays. Parallel to this, Dunlop also captures some beautiful panoramic visions that literally stretch themselves out, long and thin. He’s not averse to working within the physical shape of a painting either – some works are impressively massive and feel as though they are dripping over the edges, while others are elegant wisps of colour that stretch into the distance. These long works are particularly engrossing – you literally have to turn your head to take them in – and when the realisation dawns that you’re likely doing just what the artist did when he made the work, a new appreciation of how well Dunlop shares his vision emerges.”Andrew Harper 2020

“Every time I go to create a new painting following a new train of thought, I realise that you have already explored it in images at least a decade beforehand.” – Anonymity preferred, correspondence from prominent Sydney artist

“It reminds us of some of the infinitely complex and subtle things that go into the art of painting… In fact, a painter looks at the world but no more copies it than a novelist or a filmmaker does. Even when a particular site is the subject of a landscape, or a set of objects on a table the basis of a still life, the painter has to translate elusive and changeable visual data., and even more importantly the intangible presence latent in what is seen, into objects of an entirely different order, composed of layers of pigments that must be brought into harmonious relations with each other; and these painted artificial forms must be subordinated to the abstract geometry of the picture plane and the frame.” – Sound advice from Christopher Allen, Art Commentator

“When I noticed that there were actually very few landscape paintings made about Queensland or North Tasmania, two places I dearly love, I decided some time ago to fill the void.” – RD 2020

“A compelling painter of light, the movement and moments of weather and terrain.” – Trudi Curtis, Art Dealer


“[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

“We do not find many cases of artists trying to rebuild a language for representing the world, in particular through the primary media of drawing and painting.” – Christopher Allen 2019

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

“The Great Western Tiers (including Cradle Mountain and the Highlands Lakes District) is a wilderness area of Tasmania, adjacent to Deloraine where Richard Dunlop now lives. It is mostly world heritage listed, as it should be, being some of most pristine territory remaining on earth, and hard-fought to keep that state. There, Dunlop experiments with perspective, often conjuring a ‘floating’ interior which allows the picture plane, like language to open into ambiguous space, and allows the viewer to vicariously enter the work.” – Tattersalls Prize 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

“One of our finest contemporary poets, pictures a bonus.” – Les Murray


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

“Some entirely different weather pattern of climate change altogether has appeared in North Queensland, which has copped more than a battering lately. At the moment, it’s being called Cyclone Debbie.” – ABC News, 2017

When people ask me how does it feel to be always near the eye of the storm, I think to myself that they don’t get it, because you to any fair person they would acknowledge that I am the Storm.” – Donald Trump, climate change denier, elected President of the Free World January 2017


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

“If there is a thread that unites Dunlop’s work regardless of subject, it is the awareness he brings of things that lie outside the realm of tangible matter, such as energy and spirit. This is reflected in the multi-dimensional quality to his work that is both aesthetic and conceptual. Dunlop is often credited with is hybridisation of established genres such as still life, landscape and botanical art, as he borrows conventions freely from each and merges them into a new painterly paradigm within the edges of the canvas. The merging of recognisable imagery from these genres with ambiguous forms, areas of abstraction and multiple perspectives is analogous to the impression of an experience, and the many ways it is absorbed through the mind and body.” – Marguerite Brown, Curator MFA


“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

“It sometimes haunts younger artists when you tell them that in the 444 days that van Gogh spent in Arles before he committed suicide at 37, and where he cut off part of his ear, he did 200 paintings, 200 watercolours and wrote 200 letters in three languages… especially when you ask them what they’ve been doing in the last fifteen months.” – Elwynn Lynn, September 14 1985

“He is one of the few Australian painters whose work it is actually worth standing in front of for more than a few seconds, in order to decipher the processes that put it together, the artistic judgements and intuitions that are to be seen in the sudden decision to use a particular dab of colour or correct a stream of falling paint.” – Sound advice on how to look at a painting by Rex Butler, referring to Ian Fairweather

“Dunlop understands that completely lifting his thoughts on any overtly political or moralistic issues would undermine their power, inhibit the sheer joy of seeing how he can make paint dance, flow and achieve enviable luminosity. Herein lies the genius, as it is the joy of viewing the painting that enables escapism. It creates a prolonged engagement for the audience to view his paintings with the sensitivity and consideration with which they were crafted.” – Eric Nash Curator CCP

“Painting is not something that must be understood. If the picture is for you, it will produce an almost physical sensation, something of joy, of wonder – a tug to the gut. Don’t go trying to understand it. Don’t expect the painter to stand and deliver his innermost convictions in other than his work.” – Ian Fairweather

Much of the beauty of the art of painting…lies in the microstructure of the brush marks themselves, the evident thinking and feeling in the way the artist has negotiated forms, transitions and edges.” – Christopher Allen


“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


“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

“Dunlop’s works are not only about moving through memorable environments, but are in a larger sense about moving on in life: growth, loss and transition, looking back nostalgically at old possessions, throwing off some old encumbrances while assuming new ones.” – Sue Smith


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

“Paintings like Still Life with Pelican’s Head and Still Life of How to Start a War have a most mysterious and rare inner illumination, whereby you see into the picture plane.” – Adrian Ghenie

“A unique sense of place can still persist in the collective psyche of sprawling cities such as Brisbane. Brisbane is a state of mind as much as a place, and artists like Richard Dunlop are its guides.” Sue Smith Director University Collection UCQ