DALE DUNNING: HEADY MATTER
by : Dorota Kozinska 02 Oc.t, 2013 Vie des Arts
Dale Dunning sculpts heads. His subject matter has not altered in years, but his production is continually evolving, fluctuating, oscillating between classical and contemporary, mythical and imaginary.
Michigan-born (sic), New Brunswick-educated (Mt. Allison University in Sackville), he has reached for one of the oldest and most fecund of subject matters. From Brancusi's stylized sculptures, to Mitoraj's classical colossi, the head has been the favourite of artists from the very beginning. Like peering into our own eye, heads in art are the ultimate reflection. Dunning's bronze and aluminium sculptures may seem like a thinking man's art, replete with visual symbolism and cultural references, yet they are unbearably tactile, accessible and entrancing, regardless of size. From the fetish-like small pieces that mould themselves in the palm of the hand, to his large scale sculptures with their myriad protrusions and applications. The many allusions to mythology (eg Icarus) give them an aura of antiquity and melancholy, an echo of the past resonating in their enclosed interiors. Some we can peek into, squint to look between the filigree carvings that shape the face. Dunning's work is truly magical.
Like so many artists reluctant to write about their own creativity, the impressively prolific sculptor will offer this in his artist's statement: "My sculptures are objects of reflection and contemplation. (...) The works are open ended with no didactic intent other than to see new possibilities."
Not much more is needed to explain Dunning's work, if art really, ultimately needed explaining. It is best experienced.
Dale Dunning's works are at Galerie D'Avignon on Laurier St. till October 5, 2013.