Jeanne Dunn is an artist, art educator and organizer. Her paintings reveal sensory aspects of wilderness, which exist both in immediate urban sprawl and in distant forested places. Viewers find strong elements of foreboding, celebration, bewilderment, and mystery, along with the magnetic pull of the unknown.
The original stimulus for this work comes from a period Dunn spent in France, near the town of Rostrenen, where surrounding farm land is riddled with ancient footpaths. Overgrown with vines and foliage, these routes are intermittently used by local townspeople and cyclists, so they continue to function as connectors to farms and villages. Dunn says, “I want to suggest a variety of associations when I’m painting the twisting and turning that’s going on here … what you see depicted in these paintings as landforms and terrain relates to my personal experiences of struggle, movement, inertia, resistance, and sustained progress through rugged physical and mental territory .” While this started as an exploration of landscape as metaphor for the human condition, it has become an exploration of Dunn’s own innermost observations. The first phase was light-filled, if somewhat angst-laden. The current phase is darker and emphasizes confrontational situations, especially those which involve taking risks, or having to choose between several questionable forward directions.
Jeanne Dunn received degrees in Art from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and from San Diego State University. Her paintings have won awards and have been exhibited in Los Angeles, New York, Cambridge (UK), Budapest, Istanbul, and Rochefort, France. Her work is in major private, corporate, and museum collections in the US and England. She has been awarded fellowships to the Vermont Studio, the Hungarian Cultural Center in Budapest, and the Maryland Institute College of Art’s Residency Program at Rochefort-en-Terre, France. Highlights in professional development include artist books under tutelage of master printers Michele Burgess and Bill Kelly of Brighton Press. She also worked in London for six months in 2003 while enrolled in Life Drawing courses at The Prince’s Drawing Studio, as well as in Adrian Heathfield’s course in contemporary practices, Performance at the Edge, at the Tate Modern. In 2011 she attended panels focusing on contemporary issues facing Chinese Artists, held at the World History Association Conference at Capital Normal University, Beijing.
Before moving to Los Angeles two years ago, Dunn taught painting and life drawing for 15 years at San Diego State University (SDSU) School of Art and Design in San Diego, California. Her students have won honors, grants, and fellowships. During this period she was invited to give lectures at the University of Tula, Russia, and at the Byam Shaw School of Art, London. During this time she also assisted in two SDSU Abroad Programs in London.
Jeanne Dunn is one of the founding members of the southern California Feminist Image Group (FIG) and has performed in two of its shows, Feeder and Gift. She is included in Barbara J. Love’s 2006 book, Feminists Who Changed America. Dunn’s curatorial projects include The Drawings of Carl Peck (2007) and ongoing collaboration with Julie Baker on the work of Keefe Baker, a southern California artist and educator. This project stems from the ripple effect of Pacific Standard Time, the Getty Museum’s inclusive exploration of California as an important early generator of contemporary art in America.