Lennox Dunbar is Emeritus Professor of Fine Art at Gray’s School of Art, Aberdeen. He has been visiting artist at many universities and workshops worldwide and since 1999 has conducted annual workshops at Printmaking Center Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA. He has won many awards including Prize of the Municipal Art Museum Gyor, Hungary, International Print Biennale, Varna, Bulgaria, Shell Premier Award, major prize for the Cleveland Drawing Biennale and the Whyte and Mackay Award, Society of Scottish Artists and several major awards at the Royal Scottish Academy. He has exhibited widely in Europe and the USA.
I enter the studio with no idea of what is going to happen. I bring a number of things to the mix - a knowledge and understanding of grammar and language and a series of references that provide the basis for a range of ideas. There begins a process of discovery, invention and a curious desire to reveal to myself something new and exciting, and allow me to view things in a different way.
The hope is that the viewer will also come to see things differently.
My work mimics and inverts processes of archaeology through the media of painting, printmaking and drawing. The working and reworking of surface through degrees of chance and control create the phenomenon of landscape. The iconography draws primarily from the NE of Scotland, although the intention is to reflect a sense of place, not through representation but by evoking empathy for particular values and sensibilities existing in a particular landscape. Therefore references are made to places visited, and responses are not only to reflect location, but the particularities of different cultural influences.
How things evolve and in particular the significance of how, for instance culture or landscape changes through time, continues to be reflected in my work. For example I am curious as to how different generations view what is valued. What were once precious or cherished objects for one individual can so easily be discarded or neglected and through time or rediscovery be reviewed or analysed with fresh curiosity and take on a renewed significance.
The archaeology I refer to relates as much to the construction of the works through layering, paring away and adjusting, as to archaeology through excavation.
I have evolved the means, over time, of constructing works that sustain the potential for perpetual discovery.
My paintings are constructed from many parts and references. The journey each one goes through involves several changes or altered states. Variations in surface, layering and the juxtaposition of parts and how they interact with each other, owe much to the language of collage. They are very often cut up, assembled, re-arranged or modified in order to achieve a ‘rightness’
In addition, the physical application of paint and the awareness of edge as opposed to frame are intentional in order to embrace the idea of painting as object. Titles are there to give clues to each idea, and although each has its own identity, I hope they are held together with a signature that suggests a sense of where they were made.
My work to date has been largely two dimensional, although I have explored various forms of construction, in both paint and printed form. My interest in the manipulation of pictorial space has been a fascination throughout my career. Much of my work has a “sculptural sense”, in as much as objects are often presented in ambiguous space.