Gerhardsen Gerner

Carroll Dunham Previous Shows Prints 2017

Carroll Dunham


Carroll Dunham

Exhibition duration: March 1 – April 29, 2017

Gerhardsen Gerner Oslo is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of new works on paper, with a focus on prints, by US–American painter and printmaker Carroll Dunham. It is the artist’s ninth show with Gerhardsen Gerner.

Dunham began making prints in 1984 when Bill Goldston invited him to print at Universal Limited Arts Edition (ULAE).  Since then his continued investigations into printmaking and his collaborations with a variety of printers have produced an innovative body of work that is as large as it is varied. Whether working in lithography, etching, drypoint, linocut, wood engraving, screenprinting, or monotype, Dunham embraces the careful analysis required by the graphic process and has described printing as an integral part of the way he thinks about art making. 

Serving as a laboratory of sorts, in which new ideas are tested before migrating to another medium to be further developed, printmaking has revealed new angles of consideration and nudged the artist in new directions. Combining the spontaneity and drama of his paintings with the careful premeditation demanded of the print medium, Dunham’s imagery is transformed, refined, and often intensified in his graphic work. In the prints, the tension between instinct and control, so integral to all of Dunham’s work, is most extreme. Born of a mechanical and analytical process, the prints are startlingly expressive and explosive. Indeed it is this marriage of opposites that makes the graphic work so compelling.

In this new exhibition, Dunham introduces thematically what was already suggested in his previous exhibitions: the archetypical female character is joined by an equally archetypical male figure. Like the bathing women, this man is of robust vitality, and even more than real bodies, they symbolize an idea of the concepts of femininity and masculinity.

The figures presented to us by Dunham are not limited by any inhibitions. They are completely free in their actions and in harmony with their surroundings. The female character jumps towards the sun and the water, swimming or standing in the water, looking out to the horizon. Dunham's women are active, their ample bodies work the water powerfully.
On the other hand, the male archetype takes on a more passive role in the seven-part series "Untitled". In these idiosyncratic compositions – which in their extreme perspective shortening actually recall Mantegna's "Lamentation of Christ" – a male torso, consisting of a hairy chest with coloured nipples, thighs, pubic hair and including the penis and testicles, occupies the lower third of the image surface. The torso opens the view of a landscape with sea, vegetation, sun, birds, and female bathers, thus guiding the viewer's gaze.

In addition, the artist introduces two other new themes: in the five-piece series "Wrestlers", two of the bearded characters wrestle with each other in the presence of a dog. In the open air, the two protagonists tumble with unrestrained energy. Their wrestling can obviously also be interpreted sexually. The second cycle is devoted to the topic of "Self-Examination" from a male perspective. Beneath the eyes of a black bird, spread legs stretch toward the viewer, and once again we see Dunham's joy in abstracting the human body with the help of ever more extreme perspectives, even more daring sectioning, as well as ever more reduced lines.

Not least, in their intensity, Dunham's series are reminiscent of the "Kinsey Report" from the years 1948 and 1953, in which Alfred C. Kinsey illuminates the sexual behaviour of American men and (much more revolutionary) American women. He dispels many prejudices, religious taboos and restrictions, presenting sexual behaviour and desire as healthy and normal. How strange that these works can still surprise us in their permissiveness almost 70 years later.

Carroll Dunham is one of the most influential painters in the United States. Numerous solo exhibitions have been dedicated to him, including – in Scandinavia – an exhibition of his paintings and sculptures in the Millesgården Museum in Stockholm, and a show on his drawings at Drammens Museum
His work is represented in major museums and private collections worldwide, including Albertina Museum, Vienna; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia; Sammlung Olbricht, Essen; Deutsche Bank Collection, Frankfurt/Main; Tate Gallery, London; and in Norway: The Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo; Kistefos, Oslo; Nordea Art Collection, Oslo. 

Recent exhibitions include Denver Art Museum, Denver (2014, solo); Ileana Sonnabend: Ambassador for the New – 2014, Museum of Modern Art, New York (2014, group); Post Picasso: Contemporary Artists Responses to This Life and Art, Museo Picasso, Barcelona, Spain (2013, group); This Will Have Been: Art, Love, and Politics in the 1980s, The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2013, group); Print/Out, Museum of Modern Art, New York (2013, group); Selections from Hammer Contemporary Collection, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2010, group).

In 2010 the University Art Gallery at State University of New York in Albany has shown an extensive exhibition exclusively dedicated to the Dunham’s prints. Furthermore the renowned Museum Ludwig in Cologne presented its important collection of the artist’s works on paper in a solo show in 2009.

Carroll Dunham (* 1949) lives and works in New York and Connecticut. 


For further information please contact Maike Fries, Gerhardsen Gerner, Berlin: T: +49-30-69 51 83 41, or visit our website at