Residency Unlimited Artist Interview Series: Paula Dunlop

Here is our second installation of the series of artist interviews from the recent art show in our gallery space at 351 Van Brunt, Compére Collective, which was called CONTINGENCIES.  Paula Dunlop is an artist, designer and maker from Brisbane, Australia. You can see her work in our gallery below and featured on her website.

What has it been like to interact with the RU and local artist community?

It has been very encouraging and reassuring! I tend to work alone back home, so a residency like this—where artists from all over the world come together— is a significant opportunity to share and connect with like minds, and experience a special kind of camaraderie. It’s wonderful to see, hear and celebrate what is special about other artists’ practices, while also discovering what is special about your own.

What is your favorite experience or exhibits that you encountered during your residency?


I recently had the pleasure of seeing artist Je rey Gibson in conversation with writer and historian Glenn Adamson at The New Museum. To see two people whose work I admire talking together, felt fortuitous—one of those right place, right time moments! Both were very generous in sharing their thinking and explorations into the material histories of craft, art and design.

Is your work or ideas an independent endeavor or is it rooted in community?

It’s a little of both. I think what I’m often seeking in my work is a model or metaphor for how to move in, or ‘handle’ the world, and my place in it. My default is to feel pretty confused and overwhelmed by the complexities of life and culture, so what I chase in my own practice is some kind of grounding, apprehension, or understanding of a particular material or process. I try to keep what I do as simple as possible from the outset, as things are bound to get more complicated as I go along! Above all else, I seek a kind of ‘ease’ in my work—borne of a desire to work with, rather than impose on, the materials that I use.

What brings you joy as an artist?

Ah, this is an easy one! Touching, feeling, making. Solving a design or construction problem elegantly—finally finding a way a way to bring the materials together in a way that feels appropriate, to feel that I’ve done ‘right’ by them. When my hands remember what to do when my mind is lost or unsure. The element of surprise, happy accidents. Simplicity. Many small things coming together to make a larger thing.

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