October 5th - November 28th, 2012
Reception October 6th 6-9 PM
George Dunbar occupies a storied position in the art history of New Orleans. At a time when this city's contributions to global cultural innovation include its new fame as a spawning ground for emerging artists and co-op galleries, Dunbar's legacy as a founder of the Orleans Gallery in 1956, the first co-op gallery in the South, seems prescient. At a time when climate change and the environment appear on the leading edge of cultural, as well as technological and biological, evolution, his longstanding artistic focus on the interstices of the natural world and the built environment appear remarkably insightful. Yet, throughout all that, his approach to art making has never lost sight of the significance of the artist's hand, that embodiment of spontaneity and skill reflecting the essence of creative virtuosity in action. Beyond the hand, the land and the elements, he has also exhibited a keen understanding of the formal geometry of mankind's higher aspirations as seen in the sublime motifs of sacred sites where celestial forms and rare metals manifest the immutability of the human spirit.
All of these influences come together, often playfully, in works typically possessed of an elegant simplicity that belies their elaborately wrought craftsmanship. Here an alchemy of low relief clay surfaces, lustrous colors and rare metal leaf finishes yield objects that combine the subtle visual refinements of painting with the physical presence of finely wrought sculpture. The works in this exhibition largely reflect the gestural, abstractly organic qualities of his Marsh Grass, Mallarme and Rouville series, and the flowing bayous and botanical forms of the Northshore landscape that has been Dunbar's muse for much of his adult life. Here the elements of that amphibious landscape are reborn as iconic creations that subsume their origins in nature and culture into vibrant new iterations of timeless formal beauty.