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