Photo Credit: Judy Cooper

Photo Credit: Judy Cooper

Loretta Dunkelman


Dates of Membership:


Loretta Dunkelman was born in in 1937 in Patterson, New Jersey. She received a Bachelors in Art from Rutgers University in 1958 and a Masters in Art from Hunter College in 1966. Over the course of her academic studies she became engrossed with architecture and additionally began to study Taoist philosophy, two points of interest which would significantly influence the development of her early paintings. Her early work from the 70s features a dynamic interaction between geometry, negative space and a viscous surface texture created through a process of layering oil wax chalk on paper. Later works display a consistency in approach and formal concerns, with subtle variations on the handling of materials. In the “Flesh Series,” a project the artist developed throughout the 90s, Dunkelman introduces red paint to the oil wax chalk to create a fleshy, translucent surface reminiscent of viscera. The surface both attracts through its unusual beauty and repels by evoking images of stripped flesh, and sensations of pain and vulnerability. The series reveals a confidence in creative decision making earned through an intimate knowledge of the materials used cultivated over the course of the artist’s career.

An active member of A.I.R. until 1987, Dunkelman had six solo shows with the gallery, and additionally acted as director of the space for part of her time there. Her contributions to the women’s art movement would not stop with A.I.R. however, as she also became a member of the Ad Hoc Committee of Women’s artists, and helped organize Thirteen Women Artists, one of the first major exhibitions of women artists in the United States. Dunkelman has received fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the American Association of University Women, as well as a grant from the Gottlieb Foundation. She currently lives and works in New York.

Where to Find Her Work:

Spencer Art Museum, KS

Smithsonian Museum, Washington, DC

Accola Greifen Gallery