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March 13 – July 11, 2020
Gladstone Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new works by Carroll Dunham. This show focuses on the artist’s monotypes, a core component of his multidisciplinary approach to artmaking. Using the themes and visual language prominent throughout his most recent series of male wrestlers, the works on view demonstrate Dunham’s interest in experimentation and his seamless ability to depict forms in space with the visual language he has mastered throughout his decades-long career. 

Dunham’s newest wrestlers, all made in 2019 and 2020, are shown engaging in a variety of intense actions situated in vibrant and isolated landscapes. The environments where these men fight are almost completely barren with only a few decipherable trees and horizon lines depicted in the distance. Rendered with saturated purple, blue, green, red, and yellow watercolors, the nude men attack, scratch, choke, and grab at each other in an effort to exert dominance over one another. The men are shown either writhing in pain, as shown by wide opened mouths of men seeming to scream, or are rendered completely stoic with inanimate facial expressions. Pink, brown, and blue scratches, finger smudges, and the artist’s handprints made with water-soluble materials, such as watercolors, pencil, and airbrush, adorn the white bodies, suggesting the blood, dirt, and bruises that accompany these intense flights. Dunham’s intentional inclusion of his hand in this tangible way reiterates his interest in the malleability of the monotype-making process, and suggests an interest in pushing the possibilities of both new and recurring materials he uses in his work. 

Similar to Dunham’s large-scale paintings, the scenes he creates are confined by sharp black lines that contain the actions and the environments depicted. Here, however, the bodies and colors begin to break past the barriers, further drawing the viewer into these compositions and demonstrating the mutability of the monotype-making process that inspires Dunham’s explorative approach to this medium. At the same time, these narratives overtly connect visually and conceptually to the female and male figures Dunham has continuously returned to through his larger body of work that draws from art history and memory to represent figures and scenes of nature. The visceral and psychological narratives that develop throughout these dramatic brawls continue Dunham’s inquisitive approach to artmaking through an intentional utilization of the fluidity of making monotypes. As shown through the works in this exhibition, this process of printmaking enables Dunham to experiment with new approaches, materials, and techniques within the framework of his singular and thought-provoking practice. 

Carroll Dunham was born in 1949 and lives and works in New York and Connecticut. He is currently the subject of a major two-person exhibition at Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, “Carroll Dunham / Albert Oehlen Bäume / Trees,” on view through March 1. His work has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions at international institutions including Museum Ludwig, Cologne; Millesgården, Stockholm; Drammens Museum, Drammen, Norway; a mid-career retrospective was held at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York. Dunham has also been included in notable group exhibitions including multiple Whitney Biennials and SITE Santa Fe; and at institutions including Musée d’art moderne et contemporain, Geneva; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museu Picasso, Barcelona; The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston.