White Male Head Over Water, 2017
watercolour, water soluble crayon and pencil on paper
19.2 x 14.5 cm
[from the pressrelease]
To Carroll Dunham the act of drawing is both a routine and a cornerstone for all other media in his multidisciplinary approach. The focus of the show on works in this medium is therefore intimate and highly informative of his practice at large.
One of the leading artists of his generation, Dunham is celebrated for his independent and highly distinctive oeuvre. Across several decades, his work has evolved from anthropomorphic abstraction in the 1970s to a surreal universe inhabited by archetypal human figures. Dunham’s careful choreography provides insight into his subjects’ complex internal world. Riding the line between abstraction and figuration, planes of strong colour and the artist’s distinctive curvilinear line activate the energetically charged works.
The human body has been an ongoing primary subject in Dunham’s oeuvre. Including works from several prominent series of the past decade, a selection from Dunham’s celebrated ‘Wrestler’ series presents a male figure rendered in profile, contemplating his own reflection over a body of water, or wrestling with other male nudes in the landscape.
A mode for inventiveness and experimentation, drawing enables Dunham a raw and immediate pathway for his distinctive pictorial lexicon, without hierarchy towards painting. ‘There is no work of Carroll Dunham that doesn’t use drawing as a foundation. I wouldn’t even know what it would mean to make painting without drawing… I have always drawn a lot, I have always used drawing as a laboratory to think about other things.’