Carroll Dunham, "Untitled", 2010
THE BELIEVER: Let's think about the blank piece of paper; it's a threshold you have to cross every time you make a drawing, and, in the case of this one, you've made an analogy between the creamy white page and ass cheeks.
CARROLL DUNHAM: Blank sheets of paper always have a character. Even with quick little drawings, you're looking for a way for the paper and the medium and the image to all braid, to all connect, as one thing.
BLVR: And with this piece you're adding little abstract drawings onto her butt, as though they were the two halves of a magazine spread.
CD: When I was drawing this sort of image in my paintings a few years ago, it was connected to maleness. I included a tattoo that was one of the attributes of that subject.
BLVR: It even takes me a little bit of time to recognize what's right here on the page, such as how the arm exiting at the top left, with its little tangle of armpit-hair, frames a spiky sun, the bright morphological cousin to the dark anus.
CD: Well, the drawing construction is very similar. It's a kind of positive-negative figure-ground reversal that completely shifts the frame of reference. I feel that I've only been drawing about three things over and over for years. They change their referent but they don't really change their graphic nature.
BLVR: Your imagery seems to mythologize light and dark with body parts and celestial objects.
CD: These are all the things I'm thinking about: archetypal splits in reality that have been part of human imagining from the beginning. Likewise, the relationship between familiar body scale and cosmic scale are with me while I'm working and help me simplify my choices.
BLVR: I'm looking at the shape that seems to be sitting on her right ass cheek. It looks for a moment like a strange, pointy vessel but then switches to a negative space before becoming a stylized breast. Maybe the asshole can help us in this perspective.
CD: . . . At the center of the construction is the asshole; I have to locate it in order to build the image. It must have some functional centrality in terms of how I think. . . I'm sure you're right; putting an image like the anus through these kinds of operations results in what you see. It becomes a star or it becomes a flower. But with so few elements, as you say, repetition can reach the point of inanity. I see it very much the way evolution apparently works. If you do the same thing over and over again, there will be a shift.
Excerpt from The Believer's 2010 Art Issue: "The Center of the Construction: How to Enter a Carroll Dunham Drawing".