Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy - Shadow in a Corner II

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Image of Shadow in a Corner II

Carroll Dunham , b. Nov 5, 1949

Shadow in a Corner II

9 3/4 in. x 17 in. x 9 3/4 in. (24.77 cm x 43.18 cm x 24.77 cm)

Medium and Support: stainless steel, water-jet cut, painted black urethane
Credit Line: gift of the artist (PA 1967)
Accession Number: 2007.42.37.2


Well known for his highly fantastical paintings and prints, Phillips Academy graduate Carroll Dunham animated the figures of his lively visual vocabulary by capturing their shadows and rendering them in these three-dimensional sculptures. From an art-historical perspective, they can be considered as the twenty-first century sculptural counterpart of the Victorian silhouette, a genre that portrayed figures in profile by depicting their shadows as solid black shapes. Though diverse in medium—cutting black paper, painting in oil, drawing in India ink, and smoking glass were all common techniques—historical examples of the silhouette share a hand-made quality, whereas Dunham’s water-jet cut, urethane painted stainless steel objects are the result of advanced industrial fabrication methods. Invoking the narrative genre of shadow theater, the Shadow in a Corner series adopts a cartoonish quality, with its exaggerated geometric and biomorphic forms enacting an untold storyline at once ominous and comedic, dark and light.

Kelley Tialiou
Charles H. Sawyer Curatorial Assistant | Librarian | Archivist

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