Robert Mapplethorpe’s tragic death from AIDS is foretold in Dexter Dalwood’s painting of the photographer’s humble beginnings. Imagining the private life of one of America’s most controversial and respected artists, Dexter Dalwood captures the sublime stark beauty that was intrinsic to his work. Rendered in black and white, Dexter Dalwood’s painting utilises the tones of Mapplethorpe’s photography, and implies a more sinister world of sexuality and violence. Encasing the picture plane with a grid of painted wire, Dexter Dalwood highlights feelings of isolation and persecution. The black bed is a symbol of both sex and death; the mirror, surrounded by the glittering lights of stardom, shows no reflection: a premonition of both promise and loss.

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