COLLAGE ON VIEW
Delano Dunn: Novelties
at Brattleboro Museum & Art Center in Brattleboro, Vermont, USA
19 June-11 October 2021
Delano Dunn’s “Novelties” presents the viewer with two bodies of work that explore things we hold dear—family, love, comfort, tradition, and connection—and things that threaten to undermine them.
In the “Paradise” series of works on paper, Dunn uses the colorless backgrounds of an instructional manual on painting to explore the banality and insidiousness of stereotypes. Cartoon animals stand in for Black men and women, while white women and children are represented by delicate floral illustrations. The emptiness of the background mirrors the innocuous titles of each piece in the manual, while instructions for color palette and technique indicate an unseen artist who is complicit in the stories being told in each scene.
“Roux”—named for one of the important bases of Creole cuisine—is a series of chaotic, brightly colored mixed media works exploring family history and culinary tradition. The panels feature various ingredients in gumbo, which holds a special meaning in Dunn’s family. The wallpaper Dunn uses alludes to the nostalgia and comfort provided by the home-cooked gumbo. The rainbow-hued lines running through each piece provide a through current, bringing the disparate elements together like the recipe they are part of. All the while, encroaching marks and images of invaders threaten to obscure sections of each panel, pointing to the struggle to preserve Black domestic histories and traditions.
(adapted from text written by curator Sarah Freeman)
Brattleboro Museum & Art Center
10 Vernon Street
Brattleboro, Vermont 05301 USA