Art Scene :: Brad Kunkle Exhibit at Arcadia Contemporary
After the success of Malcolm T. Liepke‘s exhibit at Arcadia Contemporary in October, we were ecstatic to discover another one of our favorite artists, Brad Kunkle was also going to have a solo show, titled In/visible. My boss, Linda Wehrli, first wrote about the artist and gallery back in 2011, when Arcadia was still located in New York City. You can read the blog interview here. Now that Arcadia has moved to their new trendy, Downtown Culver City space, we have the privilege of attending these breathtaking gallery exhibits. Totally worth fighting traffic to get there!
Although my boss and I were unable to attend the Gallery Opening last Saturday, we learned from Steve Diamont, president of Arcadia Contemporary that some great artists came to congratulate Kunkle on his first west coast exhibition! Gah!
Kunkle’s brilliant palette of silver and gold is mesmerizing. I wanted to learn the story behind his palette, and was excited to find the answers on his website.
According to Kunkle, “These paintings are embellished with genuine gold and silver leaf, which reflects light in a room differently than paint. Therefore, they can appear contrastive and unique when the point of view or source of light has changed.”
“The use of gold and silver in my paintings serve two main functions — the first being symbolic. Gold and silver serve as symbols in many ways but to begin with, they are ‘material’ symbols in harsh contrast to the spiritual or intangible aspects of life. The shifting of the leafed skies and wallpapers are also symbolic of the ever-changing world we live in. Furthermore, gold is the single most controversial element in the history of mankind. It causes wars, brings death, happiness and beauty — symbolizes love, power, greed, and religion… it’s symbolic properties are just as malleable as it’s physical properties.”
“The second function of the leaf is to react directly with the viewer. As one walks across a room or dims the lights, they are affecting the painting and the painting is affecting them. The paintings become a living, breathing thing to me when the leaf is shifting and the oil is quiet. The art literally becomes interactive and can give the work a supernatural quality. The use of grisaille, or an adaptation of grisaille, against the leaf can give the sense of a very surreal space and unnatural depth within the paintings.”
The results are scenes of an other-worldly place that feel somehow familiar to us, as if in a dream. His themes are infused with the power of feminine energies and their beauty–an aspect of life, that according to Kunkle “…..is key to thriving cultures and the dissemination of humanity.”
Always curious about what inspires an artist that I admire, I learned that Kunkle grew up in rural Pennsylvania, exposing him to sparse country and deep forests. That explains the inclusion of fields and trees.
I also like to know where they were educated. According to his bio, while attending Kutztown University, Kunkle mainly studied under George Sorrels, who was taught by a pupil of the 19th century Academic painter, William Adolphe Bouguereau. (My boss is obssessed with Bouguereau.) That explains the luminous skin tones.
Missed the gallery opening? Don’t worry. The exhibition will be on display through December 3. Don’t feel like battling the freeways? Here is the link to the complete online catalogue. Be sure to check it out!
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Jessica Lee Sanders is a fine artist and office manager at Pastimes for a Lifetime Art and Piano School, Valley Glen, CA (near Sherman Oaks).
If you are interested in developing your artistic talent professionally and building a portfolio of works for sale, call 818.766.0614 or email the school to set up a free consultation with instructor/founder, Linda Wehrli.
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