Artist William (Bill) Dunlap is an internationally known artist whose deep Mississippi roots inform his work - whether he is working in Bangkok, lecturing at colleges and universities or painting in the studio at his family home in Webster County, MS. A tireless promoter of Mississippi arts and culture, Dunlap is revered as Mississippi's ambassador to the arts. His Delta connections draw from childhood stints in Belzoni and Moorhead before his family settled down in Mathiston, MS. With degrees from Mississippi College and University of Mississippi, Dunlap first won national attention with a one-man show (Corcoran Panorama) at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D. C. in 1987. His paintings have been exhibited in museums and galleries around the world and hang in permanent collections of New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Corcoran Gallery, Aspen Museum of Art, National Academy of Science and the Mississippi Museum of Arts. Dunlap maintains studios in McLean, VA; Mathiston, MS; and Coral Gables, FL. www.williamdunlap.com Inspiration: "
My initial childhood sighting of the Delta was from the east coming in on highway 82. Just as one first catches sight of that flat, alluvial plain, the road banks to the right and, sure enough, the horizon line slips ever so slightly... askew! I never descend Valley Hill without making that observation, and I'm not the only one.
As to the floating words, there's a great deal of text in western art, from early illuminated manuscripts and religious altar pieces to contemporary conceptual art. The words imbedded in "Delta Dog Trot..." not only identify the painting and artist, but give the Choctaw names to the river system that brought that rich soil south in the first place. Keeping with that theme, just as water finds its own level, so does the silver gray, metal flake background paint that flows freely out from the central image.
Now, as to the painting's protagonist. One of the most compelling devices employed by 19th century tromp l'oeil painters was a figure so placed as to seem to come out of the picture plane. That's what I've tried to achieve with the dog, who's as white as cotton, life-size and then some, and makes eye contact from any place in the room. All animals and dogs in particular, play a symbolic role in my work. They stand in for people. I'd like to think they represent the best of us.
There are other visual surprises in the painting that will slip up and I hope, delight the viewer. I hope Delta Dog Trot
will make people pause and think about the power of our great mutual place and the spell it can cast, and maybe even stay a day or two longer in that fine oasis of a hotel you've made come alive."