Teresa Dunn is a Mexican American artist raised in rural Southern Illinois. Her identity, life, and art are influenced by her racial and cultural heritages and the complexities of being a brown woman in the Midwest.
Teresa Dunn received her MFA from Indiana University Bloomington in 2002. She is a three-time recipient of the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Fellowship and received the Jacob K Javits Fellowship from the US Department of Education.
Dunn is affiliated with First Street Gallery (New York) and Galerie l’Échaudé (Paris). Upcoming solo exhibitions venues include First Street Gallery (2022) and the Dennos Museum (2023 Michigan). Recent solos shows include Longing to Be at the University of Alabama Huntsville (2021) and the Pendleton Center for the Arts (Oregon 2021); and Cover the Waterfront at the Zillman Art Museum (Maine 2020) which was reviewed in Art New England. Dunn is curated in a small group exhibition at The Painting Center in New York (2022). John Seed included Dunn in Disrupted Realism featuring Anne Harris at the Buckham Gallery (Michigan 2020) for which she was awarded second prize. Dunn’s solo exhibition Étrange réalité at Galerie l’Échaudé (Paris 2012) was reviewed in French journals AZART and Miroir de l’Art. Dunn won Best in Show at the 2008 Biennial of Contemporary Realism at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art. Other notable exhibitions include the inaugural Miami University Young Painters Competition (2000). She was invited by All SHE Makes Magazine to be the featured cover artist in the inaugural issue with interview by Teri Henderson. Other publications include Friend of the Artist Magazine, Pikchur Magazine, Studio Visits, and Paint Pulse Magazine. Dunn attended the Vermont Studio Center and Cuttyhunk Island Artist Residencies. She has conducted many artist lectures including at the University of Washington Seattle and the Rome Art Program in Rome, Italy.
Dunn’s work is included in collections including the Zillman Art Museum, Kinsey Institute, Venice Baroque Orchestra, and Wright State University Art Galleries. Dunn’s essay on being an artist-mother will be published in 2023 in An Artist and a Mother by Demeter Press. Teresa Dunn is an Associate Professor of Painting and Drawing at Michigan State University in East Lansing where she has taught since 2006.
The complexities of being a brown Mexican-American from a small Midwestern town in the heartland of the USA are the formative inspirations for my recent artwork. These paintings bring voice to stories that people of color, multicultural individuals, and immigrants want to share about themselves through visually poetic constructed realities. Themes of isolation and belonging, joy and struggle, relationships and identity, and hope and hopelessness emerge in the visual storytelling. The narratives are fictive futures, potential alternate realities, speculative nonfiction, or distorted depictions of past events. What could be interpreted as nostalgia is often subverted by psychological tension built on questions of race, gender, identity, and belonging. My paintings are not didactic nor do they propose solutions for issues I consider. Instead, my artwork prioritizes experiences that represent and value black and brown lives.