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Blum & Poe : J.B. Blunk | Carroll Dunham - 12 Mar 2010 to 15 May 2010

Current Exhibition

12 Mar 2010 to 15 May 2010
Hours -Tuesday - Saturday from 10:30 am to 6 pm
Blum & Poe
2727 S. La Cienega Blvd
CA 90034
Los Angeles, CA
North America
p: +1 (310) 836-2062
f: +1 (310) 836-2104

Carroll Dunham, Hers/Dirt/Two, 2009
Mixed media on canvas
51 x 66 inches (129.5 x 167.6 centimeters)
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Artists in this exhibition: J.B. Blunk, Carroll Dunham


Is Pleased to Announce

J.B. Blunk
March 12 – May 15, 2010
Opening Reception: Friday, March 12, 6-8pm

“My way of working, the core of all my sculpture, is a theme, the soul the piece. Sometimes it is evoked by the material, sometimes it is an idea or concept in my own mind. It is always present, regardless of the material, size or scale of what will be the finished piece... Since I principally use a chainsaw to do this, it is a process that moves quickly. At times the cutting away and forming happen so fast it is almost unconscious… I suppose one could say I enter into a relationship with the material I am using and as in all relationships, there are opportunities for surprise.” - J.B. Blunk, 1999

Blum & Poe is pleased to announce the first major gallery exhibition of innovative Northern Californian sculptor J.B. Blunk (1926-2002) organized by Gerard O’Brien. For decades Blunk has been a quietly underrated household name to sculptors, artists and craftsmen for his sculpture, furniture and installations, which during his time were unprecedented in size and degree of abstraction. The exhibition will include works in a range of scale and spanning the artist’s career from the 1960’s to the 1990’s. A catalog will be produced on occasion of the exhibition, outlining the works and career of J.B. Blunk, including new texts by Glenn Adamson, Head of Graduate Studies in the Research Department at Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and by Los Angeles based artist Charles Ray.

The artist personally built his home and studio in Inverness, CA, on land gifted to him by surrealist painter Gordon Onslow-Ford in return for his exceptional work on Ford’s own home. The structures are masterpieces in their own right, and now are home to the J.B. Blunk Artist’s Residency, supported by the Lucid Art Foundation. In his practice, he sculpted mostly from centuries-old cypress and redwood, with stumps often larger than twenty feet in diameter. The artist would study the grain, or burl of a wood piece for days or weeks, and then without the use of sketches or maquettes work reductively on the form. His signature style of using various chainsaws and hand tools came to be greatly influential to contemporary sculpture and woodworking.

J.B. Blunk studied ceramics with Laura Anderson at UCLA in the 1940’s, and was subsequently drafted into the Korean War. From there, he gained a discharge to Japan, where he sought out the potters and craftsmen who had inspired him as a student. During this time of study, it was through a chance encounter in a Tokyo Mingei (craft or folk art) shop that he would come to befriend prominent artist and landscape architect Isamu Noguchi. Blunk’s friendship with Noguchi would have a profound impact on the path of his life and career, beginning first with an introduction to “Living Treasure” Toyo Kaneshigei. “Living Treasure” was a designation begun by the Japanese government in 1955 for artisans that revitalized historic traditions and methods, individuals who are held in deep reverence by the general public. Eventually Blunk would become one of the first Westerners to be accepted as an apprentice, a position he studied in for over two years.

The artist’s major commissions include a work for landscape architect Lawrence Halprin, an environmental sculptural installation for the University of California in Santa Cruz, and a monumental installation at the Oakland Museum in Oakland, California. Blunk has been the subject of various solo exhibitions, most notably at the Craft and Folk Art Museum in 1978 in Los Angeles, The University of North Dakota, and Oklahoma State University. He has also been included in various group shows including the seminal craft exhibition “Objects USA,” curated by Lee Nordness, inclusion in curator Eudorah Moore’s 1976 California design exhibit, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters in New York. J.B. Blunk was awarded an apprenticeship grant from the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, two Awards in Sculpture from the California State Art in Public Places Program, and a cultural exchange travel grant to Indonesia from the United State International Communications Association. Public collections include The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA, The Oakland Museum, Oakland, CA, the State of California, Leornard Park, Mt. Kisco, NY, The University of California Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA, and the Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D.C.

Carroll Dunham
April 9 - May 15, 2010
Opening reception: Friday, April 9, 2010, 6-8 pm

Blum & Poe is pleased to announce its first one-person exhibition of new paintings by Carroll Dunham.

For nearly thirty years, Carroll Dunham has eschewed the conventions of abstract and figurative painting, instead choosing to work within their margins. It is in the space between the two where Dunham has established a trademark style and vast body of work that is both deeply original and enormously influential.

An indelible coolness marks each of Dunham’s paintings – driven largely by his loose playful line, vibrant color palette and the inherent peculiarity of his characters. Branded with human-like mouths, hair, teeth and penis-noses (but never eyes), these creatures have evolved from forms resembling multi-colored cellular membranes, to recently, more or less fully resolved male and female nudes. Often outfitted with knives or guns, these creatures have fought, shot and stabbed their way through uncertain terrain and imaginary floating planets. In 2006, Dunham began work on his “Mule” paintings (fedora wearing, gun-toting male figures, nude from the waist down and viewed from the rear). Concurrently, he also began painting richly textured trees, often alone, yet activated with the suggestion of an uprooting or impending fall; defined by his signature line and deliberate paint application.

In the selection of paintings on view at Blum & Poe, Dunham has merged these two dominant yet distinctly different forms: the faceless, fleshy, pink and white nude with the lone and luscious tree. Their surrounding terrain ranges from arid and sparse to sun drenched and crystalline. Viewed again from behind, underneath or occasionally on top of the figure, Dunham grants us unrestricted access into every curve, crack and orifice of the body, ultimately drawing undeniable formal connections between the female nude and her natural surroundings – mining rich art historical territory in a way that is unmistakably his own. It is in these private spaces: between the legs, under the arms, or over the head, where we begin to distinguish a subtly shifting foreground and background and the paintings reach a fully harmonious equilibrium.

Carroll Dunham was born in New Haven, CT in 1949 and currently lives and works in New York and Connecticut. He has been the subject of numerous one-person exhibitions, including a mid-career retrospective at the New Museum, New York (2002-03) and an exhibition of paintings and sculptures since 2004 at Millesgarden in Stockholm. His work has been included in several Whitney Biennials and is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, NY, Art Institute of Chicago, IL, Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA, Tate Gallery, London, Whitney Museum of American Art, NY, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, and Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago amongst others.

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