Viewing Room Main Site
Skip to content
In A New Body of Paintings, Carroll Dunham Explores A Taboo: The Male Nude

Unlike some painters, who begin by painting figurative works, and later veer towards abstraction, Carroll Dunham has evolved in the opposite direction. He began his career in the late 1970s painting abstract canvasses. “Originally, it was that I was picking up the baton of abstract painting,” he told me over the phone. “I was going to try to do something that incorporated from emotional and physical life, but was still on the other side of any representation.”

Over time, his work led him to incorporate body parts and other figurative elements into his abstract canvasses. Eventually, with a body of work called “Bathers,” which was begun in the aughts, and depicts nude women, their labia and breasts exposed to the viewer, frolicking in a trippy version of the Garden of Eden, Dunham stepped firmly into the world of figurative painting. “There was a point at which I realized I had made a transition into something you could call figurative painting, and it was a weird realization,” he said. “It was so counter to the story I had told myself.”...

Back To Top