Stefan Dunlop


Dunlop combines traditional techniques with contemporary concepts and reference material, such as photographs from online media outlets. In doing this, he grabs the viewer’s attention with beauty and technical proficiency. However, he quickly challenges this gaze by presenting subject matter that can be either confronting or blandly familiar. While the works can be challenging and the subject matter carries a seriousness, there is a sense of joy with each painting.

It is as though Dunlop revels in making each painting look simple and light. The truth is that each composition, on closer inspection, is a visually rigorous picture. A painting isn’t complete until it looks like it’s been whipped up in a single sitting.

In ‘Leda’ (2014), Dunlop has sorted through, painted in and then removed, repainted, shifted and reworked printed and digitally sourced images over time. He uses this plinth of wonderment to support the apotheosis of Leda herself, dissected by V-shaped banners of striped, contrasting colour and opposing directional vectors of movement implied by deer, lambs and violins… even a cake. Referencing the Cezanne style of expansive space in a composition, Dunlop constructs paintings that seem familiar but then shocks the viewer by using fluorescent and pastel greens, yellows and oranges that seem to both clash and balance themselves out.

In ‘The Grand Tour’ (2014), Dunlop takes the motif of ruins and destabilises the image through a compositional shifting and dismantling, followed by a subsequent restabilising. Adding random imagery such as a stretched tarp on sticks (a makeshift architecture to be sure), a grazing lamb and an outsized cherry on an umbrella toothpick adds to the cunning design. Saint Sebastian’s historic skewering by arrows from ‘Man Candy’ (2014) is transformed into a cocktail lounge deflowering, and transferred to ‘The Grand Tour’.

Dunlop’s work emphatically challenges existing stereotypes and questions social and political correctness. Ultimately, his works reinforce the role and strength that painting maintains in the art world and the 21st Century more broadly.

Stefan Dunlop is represented by Scott Livesey Galleries, Melbourne

Image 01: Leda, 2014, oil on canvas, 153 x 133cm
Image 02: King Charley, 2014, oil on canvas, 153 x 133cm

Images courtesy the artist and Scott Livesey Galleries, Melbourne

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