Bob Dylan is a worldwide cultural icon who has been inspiring audiences for six decades. Through music, words and art, Dylan remains restlessly creative, continually reinventing himself and challenging his audience in new ways. His expansive body of visual art includes works on paper, paintings, sculpture and large-scale installations, across several major series of work since 2007. Bob Dylan has been a man of vision and a man on a mission from the start. Powered by his singular genius and an indomitable will he has achieved success in every artistic form to which he has put his hand, in a career spanning over 60 years.
Dylan’s latest collection of paintings, Deep Focus (2020–21), draws on the documentary candour of photography and film, as well as their ability to manipulate reality through cropping and framing. The title of the series refers to a cinematic technique that communicates narrative through the foreground, middle, and background, rather than focussing on one visual plane over another. Dylan’s cinematic references result in evocative, often mysterious, compositions suspended between life and theatre, while conjuring a distinctly tangible pictorial experience.
The Beaten Path is a remarkable, unfolding portrait of the American landscape. Through sketches, watercolours, and acrylics, Dylan plots a visual journey across the United States, finding beauty in the overlooked locations that form the backdrop of daily life. Presented as a collection, Dylan’s goal to depict the American landscape as ‘how you see it while crisscrossing the land and seeing it for what it’s worth,’ is fully realised. The artworks offer fleeting glimpses of downbeat motels and all-night diners, abandoned fairgrounds and vintage cars, urban tenements lit by streetlamps. Often punctuating these scenes is the road—highways rolling endlessly toward the horizon—a theme central to Dylan’s creative output and embedded in the art, literature, and music of America. The Beaten Path emerges from this cultural heritage, a product of a patchwork of sources, stitched together by Dylan’s gift for capturing the essence of his country’s life.