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May 9, 2023 – June 17, 2023
515 West 24th Street
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Gladstone is pleased to announce an exhibition of recent drawings by Carroll Dunham, made over the past three years. Since the earliest moments of his career, drawing has been a crucial element of Dunham’s artistic practice. Encompassing over 70 works on paper, wood panels and stretched canvases, this exhibition highlights this significant and ever-explorative nature of this part of Dunham’s artmaking process, and also showcases new formal components that he has introduced in his work over the last several years.

This show encompasses two different chapters of Dunham’s recent work. The first series are from Dunham’s “Green” project, which began in 2019, has included drawings, prints and paintings, and concludes with this installation. Dunham’s focus on green as an organizing principle can be connected to a range of ideas and influences that include the exploration of identity, Science Fiction, Celtic mythology, and fundamental formal concerns in his practice. In drawings that zoom in and out on the subjects, male and female bodies intimately connect, stand alone, gaze into the distance, and moan in agony amidst kryptonite-colored environments.

The second body of work on view marks the early phases of Dunham’s “Purple People”, an ongoing investigation that has thus far involved drawings and prints, in which the male and female forms vibrate with intense purple hues, amongst other tones of reds, yellows, and blues. The considered transition of the palette from green to purple tones demonstrates the artist’s perpetual examination of the ways in which color influences visuality and meaning, identity and the human experience. Pulling apart and expanding upon the ways in which color is attributed to certain existing and imagined elements is demonstrated here with mesmerizing impact.

Central to Dunham’s oeuvre is the exploration of various constructions of space within the pictorial plane. As illustrated in many of the drawings included in this show, his recent compositions include a new formal device he has employed to study such spaces. Sharp, black rectilinear structures contain the figures in seemingly psychological environments removed from the tangible world. Without any discernible connections to reality, the characters are bound within these seemingly psychological spaces, proposing new forms of interiority and subjecthood. These internal cells, or perhaps vortexes, recur and morph across the drawings; the cells try, and often fail, to perfectly contain the animated activities shown. These visualizations of new forms of dimensionality reiterate the artist’s continued exploration and boundary pushing formal techniques.