This spring, Axelle Fine Arts will host a solo exhibition for American figurative painter, Hollis Dunlap. Born in Vermont in 1977, Dunlap is known for his works in oil characterized by aesthetic beauty and softness mingled with technical accuracy and stark realism.

Dunlap was interested in art from an early age; as a child and young man, he constantly created works in whatever mediums were available. He began to study the work of Old Masters, such as Vermeer and Caravaggio and the profound influence these great painters had on him is still evident in his work today. After graduating from high school, Dunlap enrolled at the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts in Connecticut. During his time there, he painted hundreds of figures and landscapes and he received several awards, including winning first place in the National Arts Club Student Show for two consecutive years.

It is rare to find an artist whose genuine passion for his particular medium is so great. On painting, Dunlap states:

I have always enjoyed the look and feel of oil paint, and don’t make many attempts to make the image look like anything other than a painting. I find the realism of an image can become more compelling when it is obviously made up of paint of various colors and shapes. Each shape and color is influenced by its partner to look the way it does; the direction of mark making, the thickness of paint, and each color is carefully considered within each work to suggest three dimensional space and light effects.

It is this visual honesty that distinguishes Dunlap’s works from others in the genre of “realism”; his work, although realistic, is painterly, whether his subject is a softly illuminated nude, a lush green landscape or a still life. Visible brushstrokes and alternating thick and thinly applied paint create a vivid texture and add further interest to the pieces. Dunlap combines the precision and attention to detail of classical drawing with the subtle use of light and color that characterizes the work of masters, such as Vermeer. His works depict the complicated relationship between light and shadow in a way that endows every painted moment with a true sense of life; even his still life works feel ripe with movement and emotion.

Over the past few years, Dunlap has had several successful solo exhibitions in New York and Boston. He has taught painting and drawing at the Lyme Art Association, Mystic Arts Center, and Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts. He currently lives and works in Eastern Connecticut. The upcoming show will include an all-new collection of figures, landscapes and still lifes as well as preparatory pencil sketches. Dunlap will attend the opening reception on March 15.