A fine example of William Dunlap’s “Southern (ir)Reverence” is the title of his series of mixed-media pictures of Union and Confederate uniforms. He calls them “Brand Loyalty,” undercutting any claim that a preference for gray rather than blue is a reasoned position. For many, it’s more like favoring Pepsi over Coke, suggests the artist in this playful show at Cross MacKenzie Gallery.
Working on paper rather than canvas, Dunlap depicts the empty suits of the 1860s with accuracy, but also with confident looseness. Dollops of gold leaf represent buttons, and the uniforms and backdrops are personalized with drips, spatters and strokes of crayon and charcoal. The Virginia artist gives a similar treatment to dogs, a saber and two sweeping landscapes dominated by agricultural/industrial buildings. These handsome views exemplify Dunlap’s method in this show: epic yet intimate, simultaneously precise and free. Also available is Dunlap’s “Short Mean Fiction,” a limited-edition book of text and drawings; each copy includes a set of original prints.