William Dunlap: A Survey of Recent Paintings

About the Artist:
William Dunlap is an artist, writer, arts advocate, and commentator with a career spanning more than four decades. He has exhibited internationally, and his work is included in numerous public and private collections. The American landscape is a central element in his work. Dunlap describes his work as Hypothetical Realism, as he states is, “The places and situations I paint aren’t real…but they could be.” Dunlap maintains studios in Coral Gables, Florida; McLean, Virginia; and Mathison, Mississippi.

Artist’s Statement About the Exhibition:
The paintings and single construction in this exhibition are good and true examples of my artistic practice and concerns. The works on paper are oil paint and dry pigment and those on canvas are polymer paint with the occasional addition of gold leaf. The construction, Three Dog Allegory, is made of found and fashioned objects and represents a direction I’m working in more and more.

The landscape is about a sense of place and is a constant in what I do. I owe a great deal to the literature of our region, both its content and process of making. I’d like to think these pieces are informed by if not about history. This history can be of a personal nature like the Starnes House in Hunting and Pecking, or more universal and allegorical as in Landscape with Memory or the Brand Loyalty pieces that have to do with painter’s pants, work shirts and Civil War tunics. These pieces speak to a fierce loyalty to one brand or the other and reference a loyalty that brought our nation to the edge of disunion.

The animals, the dogs and buffalo that appear here, are always symbols standing in for an often absent human presence, the only exception is Late Light – Umbrian Hill Town. This diptych is the earliest work in the exhibition and features a nude female model situated in an ancient cemetery outside the Umbrian village of Todi. It’s a slight departure from the other paintings who feature defunct cotton gins, other agri-buildings and hunting dogs, but the concerns are the same and the choice of subject matter in each work is nothing if not democratic.

I often call what I do “Hypothetical Realism.” This began as a tongue in cheek response to the Art World’s obsession with categorization. The longer I work the more I realize the relevance of the phrase. The places and objects I paint aren’t real, but they could be. Hence, “Hypothetical Realism.”