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JEANNE DUNN

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Tangle Trees Series

Nature has lured me to the uncertain and the ominous.
Anticipation, dogged persistence, foreboding, bewilderment, and discovery are all present in a journey over a twisting, seldom-used road. This series began when I took an unfamiliar shrouded path to a distant village while visiting a foreign place. The serpentine passage suggested a dark mystery, simultaneously pulling me forward and holding me back. The surprises in that secluded quest resulted in my desire to make paintings that could point to such places and experiences and conjure up a parallel intensity.


Pear Dance Series

I like the quirky body language of the common pear. When you see tumbled mounds of pears at the market, the freshest ones often have leaves aloft like flags.
Pears are “body-like” without gender, age or race. Yet they curiously allude to layers of sentient meaning by their very postures and placements.
Still life painters in every era have used tabletops adorned with food and other objects to represent meanings that go beyond the objects themselves. In the Pear Dance Series, I seek a relationship between image and viewer that is much like theater, except that the actors are all similar and the action goes on through the spectator’s own capacity and desire to make myriad visual associations.


Market Series

In open air markets everywhere, individuals come and go, examine produce while scrutinizing each other, and surprise themselves by buying more than they intend. I like the idea of human spontaneity and range of interaction in these situations--the tensions, the warmth, and the unexpected dramas. A sense of loneliness is also present from time to time, as it can be in any crowd. It seems that either we humans engage wholeheartedly with others, or we do our best to avoid connection. Whenever I am in a public place like a farmers’ market or on public transportation, I have a wild impulse to lead everyone in a little songfest. Perhaps by painting my fellow humans, I am singing with them.


Café Series, “Art Bakes No Bread”

Using the versatility and descriptive possibilities of paint, and employing changes in scale, I play voyeur to the unguarded moments of others and tweak what I see to imply further meanings.
While public gathering-places provide a wealth of visual material to any artist, my particular fascination is how the culture of the space creates a “free zone” where people can be themselves in a kind of socially-supportive anonymity. We see ourselves mirrored in the visages and the body language of the people around us, and we relax when we see others let go of their “nine-to-five” faces. Having said that, I notice people most who relax with intensity - - and in a café setting, no matter how intimate your conversation is with your friend, you are also inhabiting a kind of performance space. People come in to be seen as much as to have a private talk. Adding to the social mix, the bakers and the servers exude humor and sharp repartee, heightening the theater.