Outside The Lines

If packed First Fridays are any indication, Denver’s art scene is booming. Meet seven local artists who are dripping, collaging, and welding their way onto museum and gallery walls around the country.

September 2012

The Innovator

Amanda Gordon Dunn

Optical illusions. That’s the best way to describe Amanda Gordon Dunn’s work. Her sculptures appear to be hard, plastic pieces, but they’re actually made of cloth that yields to the softest touch. Her animal “paintings” look straightforward, but they’re actually multilayered pieces created using pencils, pens, markers, and paint. “I’m trying to trick the viewer’s eye,” the 29-year-old says. “I love that it fools people.”

The Denver native is best known for her stretch work: plastic-coated nylon that she pulls over handmade metal sculptures and then covers with resin and paint. It’s a method she invented after spending years restoring metal and welding—and that she’s used to build a new genre of contemporary art. The result is wall art that feels alive.

This work is a far cry from that of the four-year-old Dunn who made a finger painting of a whale knocking over a ship. Her range of abilities, from resin work to drawing to sewing, comes through in the diversity of her pieces. She has a collection of children’s book–like animal drawings that explore color; her recent resin-coated paintings were inspired by surfboard culture of the ’70s; and she’s covered wood with vintage wallpaper and then attached animal heads. Each piece reflects her lighthearted perspective and her muses: old science-fiction movies, muscle cars, pop culture. Says Dunn: “Art has been really the only thing I’ve ever done that makes me feel like me.”

5280.com Exclusive: Meet mixed-media artist Amanda Gordon Dunn.

Outside the Lines: A Conversation with Mixed-Media Artist Amanda Gordon Dunn from 5280 on Vimeo.