William Dunlap: Look At It – Think About It


The Sumter County Gallery of Art is honored to present “Look at It — Think About It”, a survey exhibition of select works by William Dunlap, dating from the 1970s to the present. Opening reception, Thursday, September 1st, 5:30 – 7:30 with the Artist talk 6:30-7:30. The exhibition runs through October 28th. This exhibition was presented at the Katzen Museum at American University in Washington DC this past spring. Paintings, constructions, and works on paper, found and fashioned objects all reflect the artist’s interest in the narrative tradition in the visual arts and modernisms concerns with remote association and conceptualism. In the appropriately titled exhibition, the artist seeks to present a simple lesson about his work and art in general—to look at it and think about it. Dunlap emphasizes the contemplative, meditative effect of standing before an object, letting it affect its viewer as it may.
Dunlap is an artist firmly in the Southern tradition with a wide-ranging interest in history, folk art, animals in art and landscape painting, and will have broad appeal and represents the “balance” between traditional and contemporary art necessary to keeping all of our audience engaged. The Sumter County Gallery of Art is also excited about working with the Morris Museum of Art in Augusta, GA, which is loaning several large works from their permanent collection.
William Dunlap was born in Webster County, Mississippi, to a schoolteacher mother and a father who died when he was three. The family house, called Starnes House, is featured in some of Dunlap’s best-known paintings, as are the purebred Walker hounds his foxhunting grandfather raised. “Look At It – Think About It” also includes the Brand Loyalty Series. It’s all about the garments of the Civil War, the remnants of a war carried in the psyche of many Southerners. The Civil War uniforms – from officer to militia, are painted precisely in vibrant colors, but with a few painterly drips. The series also includes aged denim painter’s pants and cut offs – a material continuum from the garments of hard work to the garments of hard war.
Dunlap will give a gallery talk the night of the opening and the gallery will have copies of his newest book, “Short Mean Fiction – Words and Pictures”, which Dunlap describes “Like tales from the old testament, rampant with sex, violence, and death.”