Working in painting, drawing, sculpture, and animation, Duennebier creates surreal narratives that focus on a cast of oddball characters. Drawn in a crude and illustrative manner, her scenes commingle threat and sly humor, showing everyday life tainted with the disappointments of violence and body image. Duennebier's imagery is populated by bemused men, fierce-looking women, and strange half-breed creatures that maintain an air of playfulness and innocence while addressing feminism, death and storytelling.
Caitlin Duennebier was born in Connecticut in 1987. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in photography at Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 2009 and studied on scholarship at University of the Arts London. Duennebier lived in London between 2009 and 2014 when she began OH PAPA, a platform for her illustrative work. She currently lives and works in Watertown, Mass.
'Negativity,' Nicole says, 'is so much more interesting.'
THE BOSTON GLOBE
'Early in February, a big, hairy monster lay on the floor of artist Nicole Duennebier’s kitchen. His head was detached from his body. His rib cage was exposed; his guts spilled out.
“This is Maurice,” the artist said. '
BIG RED AND SHINY
'I like people to view my work in the same way that I view people on the street. The initial furrowing of the brow, the thought of “What the hell is going on?”—and then laughing.'
SPACE GALLERY, PORTLAND ME
An audio interview with artists and sisters Nicole and Caitlin Duennebier. Their installation “Battle for the Sweet Lands” opens at SPACE during First Friday.
Sisters Caitlin and Nicole Duennebier are the artist-team behind our current window installation, Battle for the Sweetlands. In this interview, they divulge the story of the Sweetlands, describe working alone and working together, and talk about tough ladies.
BOSTON HASSLE INTERVIEW
'I’m always hoping that friends will come bring me donuts—or at least throw donuts in my window. Sadly, this has not happened yet.'
THE TINY ARCHIVES
'One of the most intriguing things about Caitlin is her collection of found objects, and her flat in London looked like the municipal archive of a long-forgotten city of crazies.'
'Good art should make you feel, even if that feeling is nausea.'
THE BOSTON GLOBE
'In “Swims at Hingham Islands,” Caitlin’s figures cavort in Nicole’s smoky blue waters and lounge on fiery red land as fireworks explode overhead. Bemused spirits in Colonial dress watch the scene. Nicole’s murky, occasionally luminous landscape feels like history itself: hard to see through, yet with clear, magnetic stretches, while Caitlin’s men, women, ghosts, and even the mermaids, feel familiar, as ordinary and magical as any of us.'
'It tells the sad and endless story of greed and of fighting for the wrong thing—the thing without nutritional value, spiritually, emotionally, and communally speaking—but with a refreshing sense of humor. Most importantly, the work is out there, on the street, in a format and venue accessible to all.'
THE BOSTON GLOBE
'Caitlin Duennebier's strong, simple, surreal narrative paintings focus on a cast of oddball characters. They accompany a story about a dangerous mountain made of candy. "We Named the Sugar Horse Tiffany" shows three shirtless, gray-skinned men in black hats and fedoras, two on the back of a white horse. Those two, and their mount, all primly close their eyes as the other fellow fumes. Duennebier's cartoonish paintings commingle threat and sly humor to great effect.'
'We couldn’t find it on Google Maps, but it sure sounds delicious.'
'While on the surface the subjects of her paintings appear a bit crude and simplistic, with closer attention, each painting embodies a specific emotional pause that brings imaginative intrigue to the small moments within a larger journey.'
IT'S NICE THAT
'...she’s been working hard building a base of freelance clients that come to her for witty, slightly grotesque drawings of shirtless, hairy-legged hillbillies getting themselves in all sorts of trouble with bare-breasted crones.'