Kathleen Dunne's masterful sense of color, light and form are captured in her exquisite paintings of rural villages. An evident admiration for the Constructivists and Expressionists forms the starting point for her investigations of these architectural works. Following Cezanne's path, Dunne presents the viewer with a golden luminosity evoking the essence of the Mediterranean light. Her paintings are in private and corporate collections throughout the United States and Europe.
Kathleen Dunne paints landscapes that are close to abstraction in her light-filled studio high in the Tuscan Hills of Italy. The houses and rooftops have an intense degree of light, shadow, and vibrant color that transform into geometric patterns. In her earlier prismatic paintings, Dunne investigated shifting planes with suggestions of multiple views, comparable to Italian futurists. Through time and travel, her work has evolved, yet it has retained the favorite themes of rural villages, architecture, trees and winding paths, all vehicles expressing her love of shape and color. The strong structural line and balanced composition become an interplay, creating effects of dynamic tension carrying the paintings into a romantic mood.
As a playful exercise, Dunne sometimes paints in passages of pure light, often excluding any but the smallest element of darkness. At other times, she reverses the process by surrounding a single, illuminated shape with foreboding darkness. Although the paintings have no images of people, one is connected with a sense of community. The cultivated fields and manicured paths have a welcoming warmth. Time stands still. The viewer is alone but not lonely. Warm sunshine floods the scenes, and even in waning light, there is promise. In her landscapes, the land is stylized, flattened, and simplified into what one might expect to be mere surface, but instead, her process of abstraction, the act of eliminating all that is non-essential, creates a depth of inner vision of "essence of land" rarely realized in pictorial art. It has roots and references of the geometry and translucencies of Lyonel Feininger and Paul Cezanne but as time progresses, her uniqueness and strength become more and more apparent, indeed, Dunne has found her own original voice as an artist.
Chronologically, Dunne is not a young painter, she was born in 1933, but her paintings contain a youthful vigor seldom seen in works by younger artists. It is a vigor and freshness which combines itself in an absolutely unaffected way with the sure and knowing hand of a well practiced magician. Using a traditional method of "wet on wet" - wet paint over wet varnish - Dunne creates lush surfaces of layered color and glazes. On that painterly surface, she may add images of architecture, while at other times she allows the images to emerge. Dunne intuitively paints the negative space around the trees and by altering shape, scale and character of vegetation and topography, Dunne renders a personal landscape seen in her mind's eye. There is no noise, just a quiet rhythm, a dialectic of culture and nature externally mirroring an internal instinct.
"Every day I continue to be amazed at where I live. There is a peacefulness in my life I never dreamed possible. For many years I lived and worked in Los Angeles. Because I was inspired by the architectural, geometric forms I admired in the works of the German and Italian Futurists, I traveled often to Europe. I would then return to my Hollywood studio with a wealth of ideas for new paintings. In January of 2002 I went to Tuscany for another short painting visit. Instead, this time I stayed." Kathleen Dunne
S E L E C T E D E X H I B I T I O N S
1992 Ute Stebich Gallery, Lenox, MA
1992 LACA Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
1992 Ashley Craig Gallery, Venice, CA
1993 Vorpal Gallery, San Francisco, CA
1993 Michael Thompson Gallery, San Francisco, CA
1994 Vorpal Gallery, San Francisco, CA
1994 Palesetti Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
1995 L.A. ArtCore, Los Angeles, CA
1996 Vorpal Gallery, San Francisco, CA
1995 Vorpal Gallery, San Francisco, CA
1997 Robins/Hyder Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
1998 Vorpal Gallery, San Francisco, CA
1999 Vorpal Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2000 Vorpal Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2000 Vorpal Gallery, New York, NY
2003 Tiburon Fine Art Gallery, Tiburon, CA
2003 Merriscourt Gallery, Oxford, U.K.
2004 Merriscourt Gallery, Chelsea, U.K.
2004 American Consulate, Florence, Italy
2004 Tiburon Fine Art Gallery, Tiburon, CA
2005 Chiesa di San Lorenzo, Lucca, Italy
2005 Tiburon Fine Art Gallery, Tiburon, CA
2006 Tiburon Fine Art Gallery, Tiburon, CA
2007 Tiburon Fine Art Gallery, Tiburon, CA
2008 Galleria Blanchaert, Milan, Italy
2009 Tiburon Fine Art Gallery, Tiburon, CA
2008 Chiesa di S. Maria della Spina, Pisa, Italy
2009 Tiburon Fine Art Gallery, Tiburon, CA
2009 Chiesa di San Lorenzo, Lucca, Italy
2010 Tiburon Fine Art Gallery, Tiburon, CA
2011 Tiburon Fine Art Gallery, Tiburon, CA
2012 Tiburon Fine Art Gallery, Tiburon, CA
2013 Tiburon Fine Art Gallery, Tiburon, CA
2014 Tiburon Fine Art Gallery, Tiburon, CA
2015 Tiburon Fine Art Gallery, Tiburon, CA
2016 Tiburon Fine Art Gallery, Tiburon, CA
2017 Tiburon Fine Art Gallery, Tiburon, CA
2018 Tiburon Fine Art Gallery, Tiburon, CA
Philadelphia Museum School of Art, B.A. 1955
Santa Monica College