TABLE OF CONTENTS

CREATURES OF THE PLANE

AT THIS WRITING four vertical paintings, one tondo, and one large horizontal painting by Carroll Dunham are in varying stages of restless completion. The vertical paintings are the ones that pose the “real dilemma.”1 Dunham has always forged a shifting symbiosis of formal discipline and intuitive permissiveness; becoming ever more pronounced, the latter has now propelled something “more figurative” to the fore in his work. With the intimation of a figure comes the possibility of a literary, even narrative reading that would be alien to an artist so totally committed to a purely visual, nonverbal code.

As a ’60s teenager, Dunham responded to the fevered extravagances of drug-culture decor. Later he was drawn to the squirming discomfort of Hieronymus Bosch’s fabulism, and to the pale, tuberous figures studding the landscapes of Dieric Bouts; and he began to explore the erratic subjective

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