Friday, July 16, 2010

Pink Julep Gallery: Dexter Dalwood

Pictured above is London-based artist Dexter Dalwood. I have never heard of Mr. Dalwood until today when I was surfing the internet and found that he is short-listed for this year's Turner Prize, named for the famous painter J. M. W. Turner and given annually to a British visual artist under the age of 50.

Before becoming an artist, Dexter Dalwood was a member of Bristol-based punk rock band The Cortinas. The guitarist for The Cortinas later went on to play for The Clash.

Dexter Dalwood completed undergrad at Central St. Martin, the same school where Alexander McQueen studied among many other successful artists and designers. In 1990 he earned his Masters of Art from the Royal College of Art in London.

I am completely in love with and excited about Dalwood's art which is a feeling I haven't encountered in quite some time from a living artist! Dalwood is well-known for painting scenes that he hasn't seen first-hand, yet painting them from the feeling and emotion of the action that has taken place there. Some of his famous paintings are Paisley Park, Sharon Tate's House and Camp David. Below are some of my favorite works by Dexter Dalwood.

The Liberace Museum
I love the color in this piece. The pink and the outlandish decor capture the undying outlandishness of the cultural icon Liberace! I love how there's a box of tissues right out front. To me, it implies emotion and respect for the fallen American hero. And the strength of the image of a black grand piano in the middle of all that color and fru fru shows that though Liberace is gone, he is not forgotten! He always stood out in a room and continues to stand out in the museum of artistic minds. I love this piece!
Room 100, Chelsea Hotel
The Hotel Chelsea in New York City is an American pop-culture icon in it's own right and is on the Register of Historical Places. Made famous by its long laundry list of famous long-term residents, it has been a haven for artists for decades. Famous past residents include Edie Sedgwick, Tennessee Williams, Janis Joplin, Madonna, Jasper Johns, Simone de Beauvoir, Dee Dee Ramone, Uma Thurman, Anthony Hopkins and the list goes on and on. Perhaps two of the most noteable residents at the Hotel Chelsea were Sid Vicious of The Sex Pistols and his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen. Sid and Nancy were staying at the Hotel Chelsea in room 100, and caught in a downward spiral of heavy drug abuse. Nancy was found dead, having been stabbed in the stomach, alledgedly by her boyfriend. Sid Vicious confessed to the murder in a signed statement saying, "I stabbed her, but I didn't mean to kill her. I loved her, but she treated me like shit." It is thought by some that she was murdered in a drug deal gone wrong by a dealer, Rockets Redglare. I suppose we would all know if the walls of the Hotel Chelsea could talk.
I love this piece. It's empy and dark. Yet in the middle of it all is a bright television, a burning lamp and some lit candles. Some say the candles are there to imply a drug scene, while others have suggested that it symbolizes that those who are brightest burn fastest. I like to think that again there is a theme of though they are gone, they have not been forgotten. The images of Sid and Nancy will forever be on the tv screens. They have been immortalized on film. Their light continues to burn long after their souls have gone. This piece definitely gives me food for thought!
Kurt Cobain's Greenhouse
And finally, another musical legend and pop-culture icon featured in the mood of a painted scene without his face or image being there at all. I like this piece because at first glance, the colors don't at all reflect the memories we have of Kurt Cobain, but if when you take a closer look, you see the grunge and corrosion of the pipes and ceiling closing in on the chair where perhaps Cobain used to sit. The guitar has been banished to the corner near the fire place like a naughty child, no longer useful. And the cityscape of Seattle looks bright and animated. It looks a little like a cartoon, perhaps implying that the success and commercialism of bright city lights is all a joke from inside Cobain's sanctuary. There are plants in the scene, particularly the green one in the bottom right hand corner, showing life, even after death. Again, a theme of gone, but living on. And yet the irony is that Seattle's city lights shine bright showing that life goes on with or without even our biggest childhood heroes.

I would love to see Dexter Dalwood win the Turner Prize and I look forward to seeing his amazing work in person some day. What do you think of these pieces? Are they something you would hang in your home or even appreciate in a museum? If not, who are some of your favorite living artists?
Pink Julep!
Thank you to Mags for pointing out that what I thought was a box of tissues is actually a crystal! Funny how we all see things differently. I feel like I just sang the wrong lyrics to a song, but am thankful for comments like the one from Mags because this is how we learn from each other and help each other out here in Blogville! Thanks Mags!


  1. His art is beautiful - I hope he wins the Turner Prize. I went to The Saatchi Gallery website to see more of his work. It's just beautiful.

    I thought you would want to know - in the Liberace painting it's not a box of tissues, it's a crystal...this is from their website "The absence of Liberace's grand aura is referenced to in the reflection-less polished floor beneath the piano; the large glimmering crystal in the foreground is a memento of his lasting charisma."

    Thank you for the introduction to his art.

  2. So beautiful! I have never heard of him either, but I love his style!

  3. I'm in Year 9 and I'm doing art based on his art. We're doing collages of our chosen rooms. I think Dexter Dalwood's work is amazing. I love how he structures the things in the room and the use of colours :D

  4. Oh My Goodness Gracious Me. I'm in year 13 but we are doing Dexter Dalwood's artwork now! Yes, we had to do artwork based on his paintings as well. He is a big inspiration to all artistic people out in the world.
    I think that this website is a wonderful idea to get all people interested in his artwork. It was clever to give a biography as well.
    I love how he collages things and doesn't try to hide the fact he does this but instead makes it more obvious that he is using this technique. I also love how he uses bold and vibrant colours in his pieces AND he creates a celebrities room by using descriptions.
    Thank you so much for creating this website and giving others a chance to learn about his artwork just by looking at this website.


Got something to say? Leave a comment…

Blogger Template Created by pipdig