- This event has passed.
George Dunbar – Paquet
November 4, 2023 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
A visionary artist with uncommon endurance and a passion for innovation, George Dunbar is one of our most treasured cultural figures and, at age 96, a true living legend. For Paquet, his tenth solo exhibition at Callan Contemporary, he has created new works from several of his well-known stylistic periods—Rouville, Surge, Coin Du Lestin, and Bonfouca—and is debuting a brand-new series, after which the exhibition is titled. Paquet is the name of a bayou near his home and studio near Slidell; it is also the French word for “bundle.” In these mixed-media paintings, bundles of metallic yarn- dyed linen cluster together in high relief, their woven surfaces imparting distinctive, cross-hatched surfaces. Conceived in an elegantly understated color palette, the pieces were adapted from Dunbar’s long-running Rag Series, updated with a unique process for laminating multiple layers of metallic cloth to maintain the bundles’ shapes and heighten their shimmering texturality. It is the latest example of this artist’s commitment to pioneering new working methods and techniques.
Born in New Orleans in 1927, Dunbar studied at Tyler School of Art (Temple University) and the Grande Chaumière Academy in Paris before exhibiting in New York and Philadelphia alongside canonical Abstract Expressionists such as Franz Kline. Returning to Louisiana in 1957, he co-founded Orleans Gallery, a historically significant artist co-op that elevated regional artists to international acclaim. In the nearly seven decades since those formative years, his paintings and sculptures have been acquired into the permanent collections of The British Museum (London), Whitney Museum of American Art (New York), North Carolina Museum of Art (Raleigh), Ogden Museum of Southern Art (New Orleans), and New Orleans Museum of Art, where he has had two major career surveys. Lauded in The New York Times, Art in America, and ARTnews, he is the subject of a recent WLAE-TV/PBS documentary, George Dunbar: Mining the Surfaces, and a 200-page monograph, Distinctively Dunbar, published by Callan Contemporary. His newly finished monumental bronze sculpture, the 14-foot- tall Monumental Deity, commissioned by the Helis Foundation, will soon be installed in the Foundation’s Poydras Corridor Sculpture Exposition located in the New Orleans Central Business District.
Spanning an impressive range of media and styles, Paquet exemplifies the qualities that have made George Dunbar so acclaimed among critics and sought-after among collectors: a gift for the rapid compositional movement of Action Painting united with the visual harmonies of geometric abstraction; a trailblazing approach to diverse media; and an unparalleled lineage in the history of 20th and 21st Century art. As curator Katie A. Pfohl has written, Dunbar embodies “a singular vision for abstract art unlike that of any other artist working anywhere in the country.” – Richard Speer