Michael Dunlavey

Chiesa Di San Maggiore
Michael Dunlavey

Exhibition Dates: November 20, 2020 - January 2, 2021

Coker Family Main Gallery

Local watercolor artist Michael Dunlavey will be featured in a solo Exhibition in the Coker gallery through January 2nd. Dunlavey also served as juror for the concurrent Water Works exhibition in the WestPark Workshop Gallery.

The artist's affinity for old things and rustic-industrial aesthetic are a consistent through line for the exhibition, in which ships, barns, and trucks of a certain are take center stage. Recreated from travel photographs by the artist, the large-scale watercolors evoke a strong sense of place, with otherwise empty landscapes and seascapes powerfully inhabited by vessels or structures rich with individualized character.

In a recent interview with the artist, former Sacramento Business Journal writer Ed Goldman writes: "There’s a patina that comes of age and experience and a luminosity that comes with character. They show up in the paintings of Michael Dunlavey because they’ve always been present in him."

You can read the full interview at The Goldman State.

A video interview with Dunlavey will be posted to this page shortly, check back soon for new content!


Artist's Statement

I’ve long been inspired by old things. Antiques, old wooden boats, vintage Navajo rugs, the texture of weathered barn wood, rusted metal, old tin toys, and the patina of a faded sign. I seek to capture that essence in my work, a time less hurried, a calmness of spirit.

Old fishing boats have always fascinated me. Those on the verge of falling apart and sinking into the sea seem to call to me, and I cannot pass one by without shooting a photograph to use in a future painting. I seek them out wherever I travel. Some of the boats featured here range down the coast of California from Noyo Harbor, Bodega Bay, Monterey to Santa Barbara. I love east coast boats too. Some of those pictured here are from Boston, Cape Cod, Nantucket, and New Bedford. I have traveled extensively in Europe as well, creating paintings of boats from Venice, Cinque Terre, and from Ireland.

I am also drawn to the landscape of the West. Like the old wooden fishing boats, many of the once prevalent barns are sadly disappearing. Most are endangered and being replaced by lifeless, metal buildings. The strong, simple shapes of Western barns inspire me to try to somehow preserve their beauty before they are all gone.

My still life paintings express my love for some of the odds and ends I have collected over the years, as well as weathered pieces I photograph on my travels. Pueblo pottery has become a passion as have vintage Navajo rugs. Combining some of the items in my collection and arranging them into a strong composition allows me to capture a simpler time, when things were made by hand.




Michael has demonstrated a deep love for and commitment to the arts and has a very extensive background in art and design. He received his B.A. Degree in Art as well as his Masters Degree in Art from California State University, Sacramento. He founded The Dunlavey Studio in Sacramento with his wife, Lindy, and the ten-person design firm produced award-winning work for the next thirty-three years. Michael was featured in Print Magazine as one of four top designers in the United States who create both 3-dimensional and 2-dimensional designs. The Dunlavey Studio received more than one hundred and fifty national design awards, and their work was featured in publications, including Graphics, Communication Arts, How Magazine, and Architectural Record. Their design work has also been included in countless books published in the United States, Switzerland, and Japan. He sat on the Board of Directors of the Crocker Art Museum Association for eleven years, and was on the Board of Directors of the Sacramento Region Community Foundation for ten years. During that time he served on the Arts Advisory Committee for Advancing Sacramento Arts, which generated a sustained funding stream for small and medium-sized arts organizations in the region.


Fogged in at Pierce Point

Fogged in at Pierce Point
Michael Dunlavey