A selection of still-life and interior-based paintings present particular aspects of Joe Dunne’s work.
These compositions have emerged and evolved in two familiar settings; mainly the studio and interiors of his home in south Dublin, and to a lesser degree, the environment within the RHA Drawing School where he has held the position of Principal from 2011 to 2014. This significant involvement with the School re-emphasised the approach and discipline of painting stimulated by direct observation. The selected works were tackled in this way and perhaps this process promotes a more genuine and sometimes unexpected outcome.
Usually, the primary stimulus is the formal, abstract and poetic aspect. Sometimes the choice of subject, whether conscious or unconscious, admits other elements, so an awareness of meaning may enter the process or be perceived on viewing the finished work.
In this sense, the predominant aesthetic and approach is reminiscent of a haiku poem. The paintings express a way of looking at nature and life through everyday subjects and experience, whether beautiful or ugly, exalted or humble. They are not overtly metaphorical but instead encourage the viewer to just pause and take notice. Being modest in scale, the works offer a momentary insight into the essence of the ordinary, or at least call to mind such a moment.
Joe Dunne was born in Dublin in 1957 and graduated from the National College of Art and Design, Dublin in 1978. He has held a number of solo exhibitions since 1980. A landmark exhibition held at the RHA Ashford Gallery in 2001 marked a stylistic development, which has continued alongside his more representational works. He has received numerous awards including, the RHA Silver Medal in 1986 and the Don Niccolo Caracciolo RHA Award 1993 and 2001, Arnotts National Portrait Awards in 1990 and 1993 and the Keating McLaughlin Medal for a group portrait at the RHA Annual in 2006. He was awarded 1st prize in the inaugural Davy Portrait Awards in 2008 and received the AXA Insurance Drawing Prize at the RHA Annual in 2009. Commissions by the Office of Public Works include his portraits of former Taoiseach, Eamon deValera and of President Mary McAleese.
In 2003 he completed a residency and was awarded a fellowship at the Ballinglen Arts Foundation in Co. Mayo and in 2004 he was selected by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council as artist in residence Scoil Naithí Gaelscoil in Ballinteer, Dublin. His work has been selected for many group shows in Ireland and is included in the collections of AXA Insurance Ltd., The Royal Dublin Society, The Office of Public Works, Irish Independent Newspapers, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, The Irish Management Institute, The National University of Ireland at Maynooth, Ballinglen Art Foundation Archive, The Dublin Dental School and Hospital, The Mater Private Hospital, Dublin and The Boyle Civic Collection. Dunne was elected an Associate Member of the RHA in 2011 and became a full Member on election to the position of Principal of the RHA School of Drawing, which he held from 2011 to 2014.