Latent Emissions, Chakaia Booker
The Art of Michael Dunbar in the Sculptural Tradition
O’Shaughnessy West Gallery January 29 through March 5, 2017
Many contemporary sculptors emphasize their self-conscious break from the art of the past. In contrast, Michael Dunbar acknowledges roots and continuity with twentieth-century masters. Continuum places the artist’s contemporary Machinist Studies series at the end of a history featuring realist, figurative, cubist, geometric, and kinetic styles as represented by examples from the David Owsley Museum of Art’s permanent collection. The comparison between Dunbar’s sculptures and modern sculpture invites viewers to contemplate the translation and transformation of sources and stylistic elements over time—that is, to consider a continuum of materials, processes, subjects, spatial languages, and content.
Art critic Ann Landi states within the exhibition catalog, “Michael Dunbar . . . is a serious sculptor, perhaps one of the last in the line of the Modern that begins with Rodin, extends through Picasso and Gonzalez, and comes up to the present in Mark di Suvero, Ursula von Rydingsvard, and Martin Puryear.”
In addition to his dialogue with twentieth-century sculpture, Dunbar’s Machinist Studies also demonstrate the artist’s ongoing investigation into aesthetic images of scientific equipment that have been instrumental to the evolution and advancement of civilization.
Dunbar is a successful public artist, with sculptures on view at universities, museums, art centers, sculpture parks, and corporate venues throughout the United States and, as of this year, China. Dunbar’s Katmandu, 1997 is located on the campus of the University of Notre Dame and his Three Rivers, 2006 is on view within the Snite Museum of Art courtyard.
This exhibition, organized by The David Owlsey Museum of Art, Ball State University, was curated by Thea Burger and Robert G. La France. The Snite Museum of Art presentation is made possible by a generous gift from Michael and Susie McLoughlin.