John Dunne was born in Dublin, Ireland, but emigrated at the age of seventeen. He is self-taught, and has a deep interest in the relationship between art and theology. He holds a degree in theology. His art has been influenced by that of the Far East, especially by Japanese wood-cuts and Kabuki theatre. He has travelled widely to Singapore, Borneo, and he has painted around the Mediterranean, from Gibralter to Cyprus. He is a figurative painter who works in several media: oil, acrylic, and pastel. He has created a series of paintings based on children's games and the Celtic legend of "The Tain." Relligious themes in his work include the Song of Songs, the Dream of Gerontius, and the seven last words of Christ from teh cross. He has exhibited widely, and has paintings in public and private collections.
Artist Statement: For many years, I have been interested in the relationship between art and theology, which has resulted in a two-pronged approach to my paintings. As a professional artist, I have explored the creation of art works that reflects my own faith. I have completed a degree in theology and recently completed a master's level certification in theology, art, and imagination.
My paintings express the sense of separation and estrangement as found in The Song of Songs and in the seven last words of Christ from the cross. In the past twenty-five years, I have painted several such themes, spending time in an attempt to create a body of work that would do justice to these subjects. My last group of paintings explored John Henry Newman’s poem The dream of Gerontius together with repeated listening to the composer Elgar’s oratorio based on the same poem.
I have also explored the writing of Icons, learning much from this practice by way of the spiritual approach and patience needed to complete an Icon. For the past seven years, I have been involved in the group, "Arts and Spirituality Ireland." The group’s intention has been the promotion of an awareness of the spiritual in art by holding conferences, visiting museums, and providing a platform for those who create works of art from a spiritual vision. I have chaired this group for the past five years.