Orignal title: Dale Dunning – Face to face
“I experience a certain reluctance when it comes to talking about my work. I find that words cannot describe my ideas,” confesses Dale Dunning. An interview with an artist who would rather let his art be the talking head.
“Creating is my only talent,” laughs the Canadian sculptor on the end of the line. Dale Dunning developed his passion back in 1965 when he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick, followed by a Master’s Degree at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan. “I fell in love with sculpture. When I finished school, I decided to follow my muse,” he recounts.
The artist soon became fascinated with heads, creating hundreds of them exclusively in metal. These objects are small, large, colourful, dark, delicate or rough, but they are always unique and always evocative. “Where do I get my inspiration? It’s actually quite mysterious. I often compare my art to music. Everyone responds to it in a personal way. In other words, I have no particular message.” This approach is no doubt what makes Dunning’s work so universal. “The heads I sculpt have no gender, race, or specific identity. They can be seen as a mirror, reflecting feelings and memories unique to the observer’s personal experience.”
When asked if he finds it limiting to sculpt only metal heads, the answer is a resounding no. “The possibilities are endless! It is truly a fascinating material to work with. I never know where a piece is going to take me. When I am creating a sculpture, I have other ideas at the same time and end up moving from one piece to another. I like to maintain a fluid creative process!”
NEW ERA, NEW REALITY
Dale Dunning has been attracting the attention of the visual arts community since his career beginnings. In addition to receiving a Canada Council “B” Grant in 1969 and the Mississippi Mills Cultural Achievement Award in 2005, the artist has participated in numerous exhibitions over the years; the McIntosh Gallery in Ontario, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Parallax Art Fair in New York—the list goes on. “I have been fortunate to display my work in many galleries, fairs and museums. Nowadays, anyone in the world can discover my work with a simple click!”
Aware of how the digital revolution has affected the art market, Dunning began investing in his online presence at an early stage. The sculptor quickly became very active on social media and launched his own website. In addition to presenting his art and sharing news, one is easily able to acquire his pieces. “The Internet gives me access to a wider audience. I no longer have to rely on gallery sales, for example. It has had a significant impact on my income!” he confides. At the same time, it has also helped him establish a direct link with the public. Though he continues to use traditional channels—the artist will present some oh his new work in the Visages exhibit at Montreal’s Galerie Blanche from April 2-22—Dale Dunning is broadening his horizons. “I have no definite plans for the future… I try to remain as open as possible.”