A Hall of Unflattering Portraits highlights recent portraits in painting and sculpture by Toronto-born, Chicago-based artist Jason Dunda. These portraits of well-known contemporary and historical figures are a darkly humorous indictment of authority and control, their subjects wearing power like ill-fitting costumes.
Dunda’s research-based process begins with press photographs culled from international news agencies—including the MacLaren’s Sovfoto Archive—from which he builds figures carved from stacks of two-inch polystyrene foam. The figures are further abstracted through a watercolour sketching process until the subjects’ relationship to their source materials is untethered, the strange, final works neither observational nor imagined. This is the first Canadian presentation of Dunda’s new body of work, which highlights the sinister and laughable aspects of the scrolling headlines of the 24-hour news cycle.
Jason Dunda has shown his work internationally, participating in recent exhibitions at Slow, Chicago; Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, NC; Fluxspace, Philadelphia; Cain Schulte, San Francisco; Katharine Mulherin Contemporary Art, Toronto; Kuwait Art Foundation, Kuwait City; and Wexner Centre for the Arts, Columbus, OH. His work is in the collections of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Kingston; the Doris McCarthy Gallery, Toronto; and the Todd Oldham Collection, New York, NY. A graduate of York University (BFA, 1995), he attained his MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2001) where he has taught since 2005.