The Art Gallery at the University of Maryland (UMD) presents Honorificabilitudinitatibus, an exhibition of paintings by Bill Dunlap. The genesis of the title, Honorificabilitudinitatibus, comes from one of William Shakespeare’s earliest comedies, Love’s Labour’s Lost. The title, according to Dunlap, implies “being in a position worthy of receiving honors.” The artist—who received his BA in English from UMD in 1989 and is profoundly influenced by the work of Shakespeare—insists that the exhibition should not be interpreted as a direct homage to the Elizabethan-era playwright per se, but, rather, a manipulation of various literary references and visual flourishes that yield a diluted form of humor.


At first glance, much of the work in this exhibition appears to be dark, black, and sinister in nature. A painting of a grotesque melting face, inspired by a Melville novella, replaces the formal descriptive function of a meticulously fashioned sentence. In contrast, other works in the exhibition are reduced to giant, brightly colored geometric shapes that are quilt-like in composition—another means of conveying, albeit abstractly, expression and storytelling.