Artist research: Dexter Dalwood

Updated on 17 March 2017 (Harvard referencing).

19 October 2016. When comparing my own research to the refined, meticulously presented equivalents written by other Painting 1 students, I find myself in doubt where to place the emphasis in my own learning. As far as I interpret the instructions, we are not expected to produce research proper until later, and probably for a reason. As a biologist and weathered science communicator I am well aware of the requirements of scientific research, and therefore of its limitations. More importantly, I want to enjoy and learn from my beginner’s freedom to react spontaneously and emotionally to the works of art I am presented with and not deprive myself of the joy in moving as playfully as possible (which I find difficult enough in the first place) through a period of unchecked experimentation. This is why I decided to allow myself the risk to put a personal emphasis in my level 1 reports and this is where I am going to stay.

Dexter Dalwood (*1960, UK) appears to share some of his ideas with those I identified for Henny Acloque’s work (Lacher-Bryk, 2016a). In “Sunny Von Bulow”, for example, an oil painting made in 2003 and presented by the Saatchi Gallery like her he “weaves art-historical reference into contemporary popular conscience, adding gravitas and reverence of legacy to the transient limelight of today’s media culture” (Saatchi Gallery, n.d.(a)). Instinctively, I am very much drawn to Dalwood’s poignant use of symbolism (see especially “Bay of Pigs” from 2004 (Saatchi Gallery, n.d.(b)). Other than with e.g. Freya Douglas-Morris, whose symbolic language appeared arbitrary to me (Lacher-Bryk, 2016b), the position of each element, its colour and shape with reference to the rest, helps me connect with Dalwood’s works at both the emotional and rational levels. This may sound preoccupied, but I cannot help preferring art with a message written in a language I have in common with the artist. If I cannot decode a symbol, it becomes a purely decorative element, which is where it starts to exert an annoying influence (“It must be there for a purpose, so why don’t I understand?”). And this is how Dalwood explains his approach on the David Risley Gallery website: “The viewer must use their imagination to complete my images, so I create images that trigger memories, or play upon images they may already have in mind about certain events. I like the idea of painting something that you may know a little about – the date, the place, the person – but that you don’t necessarily have a specific image for. (David Risley Gallery, n.d.).


David Risley Gallery (n.d.) Dexter Dalwood [online]. David Risley Gallery, Copenhagen. Available at: [Accessed 19 October 2016]

Lacher-Bryk, A. (2016a) Artist Research: Henny Acloque [blog] [online]. Andrea Lacher-Bryk, Hallein. Available at: [Accessed 19 October 2016]

Lacher-Bryk, A. (2016b) Artist Research: Freya Douglas-Morris [blog] [online]. Andrea Lacher-Bryk, Hallein. Available at: [Accessed 19 October 2016]

Saatchi Gallery (n.d.(a)) Dexter Dalwood. Sunny von Bulow [online]. Saatchi Gallery, London. Available at: [Accessed 19 October 2016]

Saatchi Gallery (n.d.(b)) Dexter Dalwood. Bay of Pigs [online]. Saatchi Gallery, London. Available at: [Accessed 19 October 2016]

3 thoughts on “Artist research: Dexter Dalwood

  1. Stefan J Schaffeld October 19, 2016 / 1:20 pm

    Andrea – very fascinating your post. I can sense here truly your motivation and some sort of frustration? I like how conscious you are about your statement. Great find Dalwood. Symbolic meaning is something I find myself tricky as it counts on similiar shared experiences between artist and viewer. May be true today but less in future? I tried to tackle some aspects in project 3 part 3. Can be tricky right? Wish you good mood and balance Stefan


  2. andreabrykoca October 20, 2016 / 2:35 am

    Hi Stefan, yes, I am not happy at the moment and I feel weirdly out of place with the relevance of some of the things I do. The outrageous incidents around our son’s hospital maltreatment so many years ago just won’t stop, with a new bizarre and frightening turn every week. I find myself unable yet to express in painting what I feel because of the overwhelming complexity of our situation and this is one of the reasons why to me Dalwood’s work is enlightening. The stories behind his paintings are every bit as complex as our own, but his compositions provide a brilliant sort of guidance. Maybe this is something you can only do when not directly involved, but I will try to apply what I think I can see in his work to Part 4 of the course.
    I am not so sure whether shared experiences should ever be allowed to lose their significance. When looking at the global situation today, they never seem to have been more important as a shared symbolism in art is necessarily developing, but this may only be the wishful thinking :o(.
    Balance is a funny thing. It can be found on the tip of a needle, if only you put in enough energy to fight becoming unbalanced. I can only hope that we may leave the tip of the needle one day.
    By the way, I am extremely impressed at how you proceed through the course. Hope you enjoy every bit of it! Have you decided yet what to tackle next?


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