David Allen Dunlop, Untitled

The Collection and The Human Journey

What Does It Mean to Understand and Appreciate the Natural World?



David Allen Dunlop, Untitled, c. 1984
Gift from Beverly Lieberman
(First Floor SC Wing, Across from Cashier’s Window)

Norwalk artist David Allen Dunlop agrees with the critic E.H. Gombrich that “an artist creates a poem, not a police report.” Thus, while he regards nature as his muse and begins by observing it closely, he then reconfigures its elements into personally meaningful, artistic compositions.

Dunlop travels the local countryside looking for subjects for his paintings and suspects that, on a subconscious level, he looks for landscapes that reference either great landscape paintings of the past or places of his youth in Missouri. He remembers finding this particular spot along New York’s Route 22 near the border of Putnam and Duchess Counties and deciding that its spectacular sense of immeasurable space made it “a fine point of departure” for a painting.

The resulting pastoral scene is purposefully devoid of humans who might have served as surrogates for the viewer, directing their gaze within the painting. Instead, Dunlop wants viewers to relax in front of his painting and let their own associations gradually surface. Light plays a leading role here, especially in the brilliant sliver of it seen through the barn window. As described by Dunlop: “The destination of the beholder is to reunite with the light… mythic, transcendent, energizing, original, Ra-like, Genesis light.”

Dunlop is an art historian as well as an artist and in 2009, he won the Daytime Emmy for "Outstanding Special Class Writing" for his 13-week PBS television series, Landscapes through Time with David Dunlop.

Anne Bolin, Ph.D.
Department of Graphic Design & Visual Arts