About Michael A. Dunbar, Sculptor

Michael Austin Dunbar, (1947 --) American sculptor.  Over four decades Dunbar has been an important figure in Public Art, creating large scale outdoor sculptures while also assembling major public art collections and important sculpture exhibitions.

 

Born in Santa Paula, California on September 21, 1947, Michael Dunbar moved with his parents to Illinois in1953. Dunbar grew up and attended school and college in America’s Heartland.  

 

Dunbar graduated with a B.A. Degree from Illinois State University in 1973. That same year, he entered into the newly created Community Arts Management Program at the University of Illinois in Springfield, Illinois receiving a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. The focus of his studies with the program was on the recently enacted (1972) public art programs of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Art in Public Places program of the General Services Administration.  In1976, he received a M.A. Degree in Arts Management from the University of Illinois, Springfield, Illinois. He went on to receive a M.S. Degree from Illinois State University at Normal, Illinois in Visual Arts in 1980.

 

From 1977 to 2011, Michael Dunbar served as the first Art-in-Architecture Coordinator for the Public Art Program for the State of Illinois.  In that position he wrote the guidelines, procedures, and contracts for the newly created program. During his 33 years as the coordinator of the program he was responsible for the procurement of hundreds of works of public art by Illinois artist, totaling over 28 million dollars for state buildings throughout Illinois.

 

In 1995 he created and along with fellow artist, Terry Karpowicz, co-produced Pier Walk, a venue that challenged sculptors from around the world to exhibit their art work in Chicago. Over a six-year period, Dunbar and Karpowicz recruited or conducted the selection process for as many as 450 works by nationally and internationally known sculptors for exhibition at Chicago’s historic Navy Pier through 2001.

 

From 1997 to 2013, Dunbar served as guest curator for the Monticello Sculpture Garden at Lewis and Clark Community College where he assembled a collection of important bronze outdoor sculptures for the college campus.

 

Michael Dunbar has received numerous awards over the years including the International Pollock-Krasner Foundation Award in 2021. The Award of Honor at the HUMAN•NATURE, International Sculpture Exhibition in Zhengzhou, China in 2019, the Wuhu Liu Kaiqu Top Award of Honor at the 5th International Sculpture Exhibition in Anhui China in 2017, the International Pollock-Krasner Foundation Award in 2007, a National Endowment for the Arts, Fellowship in1974, the Illinois Arts Council, Governors Art Award in 1973 and others.

 

Dunbar established his sculpture studio in 1974 and has been creating large scale outdoor sculptures ever since. Michael Dunbar’s 45 years of involvement in these Public Art arenas has given him a unique perspective and historic reference to the world of Public Art.

Oscar's Inclination

2003, Oscar’s Inclination, Welded painted steel 13 ft. tall x 20 ft. long x 15 ft. wide

Solo Exhibitions

 

2017 Continuum the Art of Michael Dunbar in the Sculptural Tradition exhibition Snite Museum of Art, at the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana

2017   Michael Dunbar: Future, Vision, Past, Findlay Galleries, New York, NY

2016, Continuum, the Art of Michael Dunbar in the Sculptural Tradition, the David Owsley Museum of Fine Art, Ball State University, Muncie, In

2015   Genesis: Origin of an Idea, Kettering University, Flint, MI

2013   Michael Dunbar Sculptures, Sioux City Art Center, Sioux City, IA

2012   Explorations in Space, Flint Institute of the Arts, Flint, MI

2011   Instrumental Transitions, Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton, NJ

2010   Storm Warnings, Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

2006   A Measure of Time and Space, Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

2005   Bronze Sculpture, Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

2005   Machinist Studies: The Sculpture of Michael Dunbar, University of Illinois, Springfield

2003   Heavy Equipment: Maquettes by Michael Dunbar, Flint Institute of Art, Flint, MI

2003   Maquettes and Machinist Studies, Maiden Lane Exhibition Space, New York, NY

1999   Machinist Studies, Illinois State Museum, Chicago, IL

1993   Stele Head, Lincoln Land Community College, Springfield, IL

1991   Abstract Works, Struve Gallery, Chicago, Illinois

1986   Maquettes and Machinist Studies, Sonia Zaks Gallery, Chicago, IL

1983   The Sculpture of Michael Dunbar, Eureka College, Eureka, IL

1983   Michael Dunbar Sculpture, Parkland Community College, Champaign, IL

1981   Large and Small the Sculpture of Michael Dunbar, Tower Park Gallery, Peoria, IL

1981   Michael Dunbar Sculpture, Western Illinois University, Macomb, IL 

1978   Machinist Studies, Tower Park Gallery, Peoria, IL

1978   Michael Dunbar Sculpture, MacMurray College, Jacksonville, IL

1976   New Graphite Drawings, Galesburg Art Center, Galesburg, IL

Group Exhibitions                              

 

2021   3D: Focus on the Abstract, Henry Gallery. at the Flint Institute of the Arts in Flint Michigan

2021    Pure Abstraction, at the Flint Institute of the Arts in Flint, Michigan 

2020   “89th Annual Exhibition of Professional Members” Arts Club of Chicago; Chicago, IL

2019   “Human • Nature: 2019 International Sculpture Exhibition” Zhengzhou Sculpture Park; Zhengzhou, China

2016   “5th Wuhu Liu Kaiqu Award International Sculpture Exhibition” Wuhu Annhui, China

2014   “Eye-to-Eye, Color and Form” Schmidt Fine Art Center; Southwestern Illinois University, Belleville, IL

2013   “86th Annual Exhibition of Professional Members” Arts Club of Chicago; Chicago, IL

2012   “Sculpture by Michael Dunbar, Paintings by Harold Gregor” Cinema Gallery; Urbana, IL

2011   “84th Exhibition of Professional Members” Arts Club of Chicago; Chicago, IL

2010   “Summer Sculpture” Grounds for Sculpture; Hamilton, NJ

2009   “83rd Exhibition of Professional Members” Arts Club of Chicago; Chicago, IL

2008   “Group Dialogue” Gerald Peters Gallery; Santa Fe, NM

2007   “Sculpture Tour” Western Michigan University; Kalamazoo, MI

2007   “82nd Exhibition of Professional Members” Arts Club of Chicago; Chicago, IL

2006   “Art in 3-D Pixels Realized” Illinois Institute of Technology; Chicago, IL

2006   “Sculpture on the Prairie ’06” Wandell Sculpture Garden; Urbana, IL

2005   “81st Exhibition of Professional Members” Arts Club of Chicago; Chicago, IL

2003   “80th Exhibition of Professional Members” Arts Club of Chicago; Chicago, IL

2002   “David Hickey Selects: Maquettes for Pier Walk 2002” Chicago, IL

2002   “Sculpture on the Prairie ’02” Wandell Sculpture Park; Urbana, IL

2002  “Maquettes for Monuments”  Krasl Art Center; St. Joseph, MI2002   “Models for Large Scale Works”  West Bend Art Museum; West Bend, WI

Sweet Melissa.jpeg

1999, Sweet Melissa, Painted Steel, 12ft. tall by 8 ft. wide by 10 ft. long

2001   “79th Exhibition of Professional Members” Arts Club of Chicago; Chicago, IL

2001   “Pier Walk 2001” Navy Pier; Chicago, IL

2000   “A Selection of Maquettes from Pier Walk 2000” Schmucker Art Gallery; Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, PA

2000   “6 Scultori Americani dal’Illinois” Comune di  Roma Assessorato alle Politiche Culturali; Rome, Italy

2000   “Maquettes” Sarasota Season of Sculpture; Sarasota, FL

2000   “Pier Walk 2000” Navy Pier; Chicago, IL

2000   “Sculpture on the Prairie” Wandell Sculpture Park; Urbana, IL

1999   “Pier Walk ’99” Navy Pier; Chicago, IL

1999   “Sculpture on the Prairie ‘99” Wandell Sculpture Park; Urbana, IL

1998   “Pier Walk ’98” Navy Pier; Chicago, IL

1997   “Pier Walk ’97” Navy Pier; Chicago, IL

1997   “Three Illinois Sculptors” Rockford Art Museum; Rockford, IL

1996   “Pier Walk ’96” Navy Pier; Chicago, IL

1995-6, “University of Notre Dame Sculpture Project” University of Notre Dame; South Bend, IN.

1995   “Bernbaum Sculpture Walk” Ravinia Festival; Highland Park, IL

1994   “Chicago: The Third Dimension” Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art; Chicago, IL

1991   “Abstract Works” Struve Gallery; Chicago, IL

1991   “Out of Time” Illinois State University; Bloomington-Normal, Bloomington, IL

1991   “Sculpture by and for Visionaries” Waterfront Gallery; Peoria, IL

1990  “Summer Sculpture Garden” Riverwalk Gallery, Naperville, Illinois

1990  “Partners in Purchase” State of Illinois Art Gallery, Chicago, Illinois

1989  “Sculpture Walk” Chicago River Park, Chicago, Illinois

1989  “Three Illinois Sculptors” Allen Center, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois

1989 .”International Art Expo” Navy Pier, Chicago, Illinois                                               

1989  “IL Bronzetto, Exhibit of Bronze Maquettes” Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago,

1988  “Sculpture In the Landscape” The Paine Art Center, Oshkosh, Wisconsin                                                                              

1986  “Exterior / Interio”, Navy Pier, Chicago, Illinois

1986 “International Art Expo” Navy Pier, Chicago, Illinois

1986  “Sculpture Tour 85/86” University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee

1986  “New Traditions in Sculpture” Illinois Arts Council, Chicago, Illinois

1985  “Chicago Sculpture” Rockford College, Rockford, Illinois

1985  “Chicago Sculpture Society Exhibition” Chain of Lakes Cultural Center, Libertyville, Illinois

1985  “New Traditions in Sculpture” Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, Illinois 

1984  “Centennial Sculpture Exhibition” Augustana Hospital, Chicago, Illinois

1984  “Two Contemporary Springfield Artists” Illinois State Museum, Springfield, IL.

1983 .”Michael Dunbar, Solo Exhibit of Sculpture” Eureka College, Eureka, Illinois

1983  “Eighteen Illinois Sculptors” Western Illinois University, Macomb, Illinois

1983  “Rockford and Vicinity Exhibition” Rockford, Illinois

1983  “Chicago International Mile2, Sculpture Exhibition” Navy Pier, Chicago, Illinois

1983  “Ten Illinois Sculptors” Tarble Arts Center, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, Illinois 

1982  “Mayor Byrne’s Mile of Sculpture” Navy Pier, Chicago, Illinois

1978  “Illinois Shakespeare Festival Outdoor Sculpture Program” Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois  

1977  “Art in Public Places, Kentucky” Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition, City, County Arts Council, Paducah, Kentucky

1979  “Mid-American Art Exhibition” Owensboro Museum of Fine Art, Owensboro, Kentucky

1979  “Group Show” Peoria Art Guild, Peoria, Illinois

1979  “Group Show” Contemporary Art Workshop, Chicago, Illinois

1978  “Illinois Traveling Sculpture Exhibition II” Illinois Arts Council, Chicago, Illinois

1978  “Group Show” Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington, Illinois 

1978  “Group Show” Lincoln College, Lincoln, Illinois

1978  “Group Show” Paul Sargent Art Gallery, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, Illinois

1977 “Art in Public Places” Kentucky, City, County Arts Council, Paducah, Kentucky

1977 “19th Annual National Exhibition of Prints and Drawings” Oklahoma Art Center,  Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

1977 “3-D 77” Union League club of Chicago, Three-Dimensional Art Show, Chicago,

1976  “Rockford and Vicinity Show” Rockford, Illinois

1974 “Illinois Invitational Exhibition” Illinois State Museum, Springfield, Illinois

1974 “26th Annual Mid States Art Exhibition” Evansville Museum of Arts and Science,  Evansville, Indiana

1974 “3rd Annual Mid States Traveling Art Exhibit” Evansville, Indiana

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Red Katmando

Commissions                                                 
 

2019, Moon Transit, Stainless Steel 14 f. tall by 12 ft wide by 13 ft long, Zhengzhou International Sculpture Exhibition, Zhengzhou, China

2017, Bel-Canto, Painted Steel 6 ft. tall by 7 ft wide by 7 ft long, Time Equities Complex, Roanoke Virginia

2016, Iron Mountain, Cor-ten Steel, 15ft tall by 14 ft wide by 20 ft long, The 5th “Liu Kaiqu Award” International Sculpture Park, Wuhu City, China

2016, Jendiva, Painted Steel, 11 ft. tall by 9 ft. wide by 8 ft. long, City Park, Tad Gormley Stadium, New Orleans, Louisiana 

2014, Touched by the Sun, Fabricated Bronze, 14 ft. tall by 12 ft. wide by 12 ft. long, Sioux City Art Center, Sioux City Iowa

2011, Orbits of Isaac, Fabricated Bronze, 11 ft. tall by 12 ft. wide by 15 ft. long, Kettering University, Flint, Michigan

2009, Cassiopeia, Fabricated Bronze, 6 ft. tall by 5 ft. wide by 9 ft. long, Flint Institute of Arts, Flint, Michigan

2009, Arthur’s Odyssey, Painted Steel, 12ft. tall by 10 ft. wide by 10 ft. long, Indiana State University, Terra Haute, Indiana

2008, Pivot Point, Fabricated Bronze, 19 ft. tall by 12 ft. wide by 13 ft. long, Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel and Convention Center, Schaumburg, Illinois

2009, Great Lakes Transfer, Painted Steel, 10ft. tall by 5ft. wide by 9 ft. long, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan

2006, Three Rivers, Fabricated Bronze, 4 ft. tall by 4 ft. wide by 6 ft. long, Notre Dame University, South Bend, Indiana

2004, Euclid’s Cross, Fabricated Bronze, 21 ft. tall by 18 ft. wide by 25 ft. long, Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park, Hamilton, Ohio

2003, Oscar’s Inclination, Welded painted steel 13 ft. tall x 20 ft. long x 15 ft. wide Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park, Governor State University Chicago Heights, Il.                                          

2003, North Point, Fabricated Bronze, 12 ft. tall by 10 ft. wide by 11 ft. long, Lewis & Clark Community College, Godfrey, Illinois

2001, Chicago Dayton Transit, Painted Steel, 12 ft. tall by 10 ft. wide by 11 ft. long, Time Equities Plaza, Dayton, Ohio.

2001, Niantic, Fabricated Bronze, 12 ft. tall by 5 ft. wide by 13 ft. long, Meadowbrook Sculpture Park, Champaign, Illinois

1999, Sweet Melissa, Painted Steel, 12ft. tall by 8 ft. wide by 10 ft. long, 
Oakton Community College, Skokie, Illinois

1997, Katmandu, Painted Steel, 12 ft. tall by 9 ft. wide by 15 ft. long, University of Notre Dame, South Bend, IN, Indiana

1996, Astro Treillage, Painted Steel, 18ft. tall by 20 ft. wide by 20 ft. long, Southwestern Illinois College, Belleville, Illinois  
1996, River Rouge, Painted Steel, 9 ft. tall by 9 ft. wide by 8 ft. long, 
Private Collection, Berrien Springs, Michigan

1995, Allegheny Drift, Painted Steel, 12ft. tall by 8 ft. wide by 13 ft. long, 
Krasl Art Center, St. Joseph, Michigan

1995, New Madrid Shift, Granite Water Feature, 15 ft. tall by 4 ft. wide by 2 ft. deep, Private Collection, Springfield, Illinois

1988, Smoke Stack Lightning, Cor-ten Steel, 5ft. tall by 3 ft. wide by 4 ft. long, Memorial Hospital, Springfield, Illinois

1987, Dawn Departure, Fabricated Bronze, 5 ft. tall by 3 ft. wide by 5 ft. long, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, Illinois

1986, River Crossing, Painted Steel, 16 ft. tall by 10 ft. wide by 12 ft. long, University of Wisconsin at Steven’s Point, Steven’s Point, Wisconsin

1986, Gandy Dancer, Painted Steel, 4ft. tall by 2 ft. wide by 4 ft. long, 
Private Collection, Springfield, Illinois

1985, Inland Passage/ Pier Walk, Painted Steel, 10ft. tall by 8 ft. wide by 8 ft. long, Rockford Art Museum, Rockford, Illinois   
1985, Stele Head, Painted Steel, 10 ft. tall by 4 ft. wide by 4 ft. long,
Lincoln Land College, Springfield, Illinois 

1984, Thunder Stone Blue, Painted Steel, 5ft. tall by 3 ft. wide by 5 ft. long, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois

1982, Speed Wrench, Cor-ten Steel, 9 ft. tall by 8 ft. wide by 12 ft. long, Western Illinois University, Macomb, Illinois

1978, TT Jake, Welded Steel, 4 ft. tall by 4 ft. wide by 4 ft. long, Private Collection, Springfield, Illinois

1977, Hunter Jack 45, Cor-ten Steel, 5 ft. tall by 4 ft. wide by 7 ft. long, Private Collection, Springfield, Illinois 

1977, Niccols Stone Yard, Cor-ten Steel, 9 ft. tall by 5 ft. wide by 5 ft. long,  Private Collection, Springfield, Illinois 

1977, Highway 66 Goodbye, Cor-ten Steel, 6 ft. tall by 2 ft. wide by 3 ft. wide,
Sangamo Club, Springfield, Illinois 

1977, Sanga-One, Welded Steel, 5 ft. tall by 4 ft. wide by 5 ft. long, Private Collection, Springfield, Illinois 
1977, Lakeside II, Welded Steel, 5 ft. tall by 4 ft. wide by 4 ft. long, Private Collection, Springfield, Illinois   

Awards and Grants                   

 

2021   International Pollock-Krasner Foundation Award

2019   Zhengzhou International Sculpture Exhibition, Award

2016   “5th Wuhu Liu Kaiqu Award International Sculpture Exhibition, Award

2007   International Pollock-Krasner Foundation Award

1988   Artist Grant; Illinois Arts Council

1984   Governors Art Award Commission; Illinois Arts Council

1975   Fellowship; National Endowment for the Arts

 

 

Education

 

 

1980 M.S. Degree, Illinois State University, Normal Illinois

1976, M.A Degree, University of Illinois, Springfield, Illinois

1973, B.A. Degree, Illinois State University Normal, Illinois

1971  A.A. Lincoln Land Community College, Springfield, Illinois,

jendiva.jpg

2016, Jendiva, Painted Steel, 11 ft. tall by 9 ft. wide by 8 ft. long