Join us for a FREE opening reception on Friday, February 19th from 6 PM until 9 PM.
David Dunlap will be in attendance!
David Dunlap always carries a small notebook in his hip pocket. He’s done this since 1974, and often structures his site specific installations around the chronology of his obsessive recordings in these tattered little books. He has also created ornate monthly calendars for the past 25 years that suggest the sedimentary and inevitable flow of time in a life of art. If you run into him, he’ll jot down thoughts, addresses, comments, notes to himself or notes to you. He also paints suits with icons, images and poetic text. Suits, pants, hats, vests, ties, shoes. When one surface fills, he moves on to another. These suits, he claims, “are at work when they are at rest. Then occupied, they go to work again by going out into the world…” I like the idea that one’s work “goes out into the world” like a march, or a walk, or a witness.
David is like a one-man art movement occupying any necessary space. Back when I was in college in Colorado Springs, I happened to see a Prismacolor pencil drawing that David had done, included in a local exhibition. It was a beautiful thing, something about the private life of Vincent Van Gogh, and I visited it daily, marveling at the detail and acid green palette. Inspired by that artwork, I spent the next five years making Prismacolor drawings. That’s how David’s work works: whether structuring brilliant “free art schools” at his Walnut Farms domicile outside of Iowa City, or engaging collaborations across the globe, he makes the creative act look as natural as breathing. You might see his work in a fine museum, or pulled behind a bicycle in a park, or mysteriously lit with holiday lights on the side of a back country highway, or in an exhibition like this at Woodland Pattern. In recent years, I’ve gotten to know David a bit beyond his early prowess with colored pencil, and am honored to help bring his work to Milwaukee. In the back of some closet, I know I have an old suit coat that needs some cryptic, inspirational, historically resonant, aphoristic, expressive, poetic messages painted onto it. Like a book, it would then be at rest while working, worn out into the world to be read. Like a book.
David Dunlap is a walnut farmer and painter, a poet of common objects. He keeps notebooks as a way of recording details of daily encounters, and continues to teach in informal settings even after his recent retirement as an art professor at the University of Iowa. He was born in 1940 in Kansas City, Missouri, traveled to Cuba right after the revolution, was inspired by MLK speeches to march for civil rights, and was active in anti-war protests during his formative years. He lived, for a while, in NYC, and then moved to Iowa City, where he worked as a professor, always placing student need over institutional constraint. He currently lives and works as the Attendant at Walnut Farms outside of Iowa City, usually in collaboration with artists from around the world.
Guest curator Lane Hall is a multi-media artist, writer and professor in the Department of English at UW-Milwaukee. He has been active in the recent political struggles in Wisconsin, and has been extensively engaged in artistic activism at both street and academic level. He was a co-founder of the Overpass Light Brigade (OLB) which is a direct action group aimed at DIY political messaging, visibility, and the creation of community through peaceful protest. OLB has spawned an international movement of Light Brigades that is currently comprised of over fifty chapters within the USA, Germany, the UK and New Zealand, all focussing on regional social justice struggles and broader collaborations and campaigns. He continues to seek balance between teaching, visual art, writing, and street activism.
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