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Rosemary Dunbar

by Robert Sievert


Rosemary Dunbar: The Lighthouse at Alexandria (2003)

Rosemary Dunbar: The Colossus of Rhodes (2003)

Flattened and distributed over a disjointed picture plane, the recent work of Rosemary Dunbar plays out a rather upbeat and complicated view of things both ancient and modern.

Her recent show at the Blue Mountain Gallery (February 24 thru March 20) entitled "Seven Wonders of the Ancient World" takes a number of familiar icons of ancient culture and reinvents them into postmodern art. For instance Colossus at Rhodes is a riff on male heroic anatomy that Dunbar presents into a singular piece composed of inter-connected panels inside of which arms, legs, and torso are referenced and presented with simple, yet compelling structure. As in most of her other works in this presentation, bands or ribbons of color are injected further flatten the over all feeling of this work and give it a unifying and somewhat zany overall appearance.

There is no deneying the Dunbar's sense of pictorial invention as she tears into the Lighthouse at Alexandria. What comes forth is a spatially complicated yet solid image. The building itself is presented in a series of flat panels that seem to move in and out in an architectural manner. They are built on an incredible foundation of earth and water. In the end the entire picture becomes monumental

"The Great Pyramid at Giza" (oil on paper 41" x 29") is a series of overlapping triangles that distributes itself over the picture forming a complicated singular shape that suggests and alludes to three-dimensional form without describing or delineating it. In this image the pyramid advances, retreats, pops up and down and appears to be in several different places at once.

The work is oil painted on paper. There are a number of manipulations she goes through, incising lines, laying shape over shape and stenciling letters into unexpected places. The outcome of all this are paintings that are bright, intriguing and totally original

When asked about the method and technique of her work Ms Dunbar responded: "Most of the works in the show were 40" x 29 1/2" and were oil on paper. Two of the works were 24" x 24" on mahogany panel. All of the works are a combination of collage, stencilling, pencil, charcoal and pastel pencil. They are layered works and I just keep on working on them until they are done which means they go through many, many transformations on their road to completion. They were all completed in 2003."


  Images copyright © 2004 Rosemary Dunbar
Text copyright © 2004 Robert Sievert