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White Gray Black

Marlene Dumas (South African, born 1953)

About this artist

Source: Oxford University Press

South African painter, draughtswoman and collagist, active in the Netherlands. She studied the fine arts at the University of Cape Town, South Africa (1972–5), and continued studying art at the Ateliers ’63, Haarlem, the Netherlands (1976–8). In 1979–80 she followed a general course in psychology at the Psychological Institute of the University of Amsterdam. Dumas became known for her portraits and figurative works. Her exhibition The Private Versus the Public (Amsterdam, Gal. Paul Andriesse) presented a number of group and individual portraits based on Polaroid photographs taken either by herself or from magazines (e.g. the Turkish Schoolgirls, 1.60×2.00 m, 1987; Amsterdam, Stedel. Mus.). Her emotional involvement with the subjects coupled with her distortion of the original photographs created unnaturalistic renderings that had characteristically a haunting edge. Other significant works include the Particularity of Nakedness (1.40×3.00 m, 1987; Eindhoven, Stedel. Van Abbemus.). In the 1990s she produced such installation works as Black Drawings (ink on paper and slate, 1991–2; Tilburg, De Pont Found. Contemp. A.). Based on photographs of friends and newspaper cuttings, and placed in a grid formation covering a wall, the hundreds of washes form a crowd or large group, the individual features of which, together with their manner of depiction, invite non-linear comparison.

Cecile Johnson
From Grove Art Online

© 2009 Oxford University Press

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