Cover the Waterfront: Teresa Dunn
January 10 – May 2, 2020
Cover the Waterfront features an array of circular compositions by Michigan-based artist Teresa Dunn. Dunn explores the contradictory nature of circles that, for the artist, symbolizes perpetual cycles of “isolation and belonging, loneliness and solitude, internal conflict, journey, the difference between home and homeland.” In these featured works, the artist creates a fictional island environment inhabited by a female protagonist and her associates. Dunn states that her paintings are a “combination of fictive futures, imagined alternate realities, and dream-like perversions of past events.” Objects of transportation are recurring components in Dunn’s compositions. The inclusion of boats, cars, bikes, and planes suggest that the protagonist inhabiting the spaces can journey from one narrative to another. The artist regards her work as “visually poetic and loose in narrative structure that is more lyrical and informed by color, pattern, light, and atmosphere as opposed to time or sequence.”
This body of paintings employs the use of still life as a springboard to storytelling. The objects employed in these compositions may be encountered, utilized, or consumed by the fictional island dwellers. Dunn functions as a storyteller and creates narratives from the thoughtful arrangement of her young daughter’s toys in energized still lives. The artist also finds inspiration in her child’s drawings and through play-acting. In Visitation, three female figures, one in a swimsuit and the others in fashionable attire, converge in an unusual outdoor setting. Based on the postures of the women, the viewer is left to contemplate if the meeting is a friendly or confrontational exchange. The artist’s rich use of color plays a strong role in conveying the overall tone and various seasonal settings, and simultaneously works to activate memories of sound and smell for the viewer.
TERESA DUNN (American, born 1976), Patiently Waiting, 2018, Oil and Flashe on paper on panel, Courtesy of the artist.