Hidden in the glorious wildness like unmined gold.
~ John Muir
Brad Kunkle Solo Exhibition “The Belonging” 11 December – 31 December, 2014 at Arcadia Contemporary New York.
Born in rural Pennsylvania, New York-based artist Brad Kunkle spent his younger years exploring and romanticizing the beauty of the sparse countryside and the deep forests around him. From an early age he was drawn to the worlds of Maxfield Parrish and the Pre-Raphaelites, worlds, he says, “where a subtle, supernatural beauty seems to be hiding under the breath of women, worlds where something beyond our natural perception is waiting to be found.”
Brad Kunkle, Seer, 17 x 18 in, Oil and Gold Leaf Paint on Linen, 2012, In Private Collection, Courtesy and © Brad Kunkle.
Known for his gorgeous brushwork that is at once dream-like and photorealistic, and his truly romantic, luminous landscapes brought to life with a wonderful use of gold leaf paint. An evocative and organic painterly style which draws the viewer in, creating narrative by the way the leaf absorbs and reflects the light. In discussing some of the ideological challenges of working with gold “That’s the beauty and tragedy of this element,” he says. “It’s the most controversial element in the history of mankind. It also implies love and spirituality. The spiritual implication comes from its use in organized religion. But if we look at gold outside this context, we can see why it has been used to inspire our spiritual senses, which for me is the way it reflects light.”
Brad Kunkle, Sixth Sleep, 47 x 31 in, Oil and Gold & Silver Leaf on Linen, 2011, In Private Collection, Courtesy and © Brad Kunkle.
His minimal palette is inspired by the grisailles of early European masters and the haunting quality of antique photographs and daguerreotypes. “Grisaille has a mysterious quality to it, and that mysterious quality is also at times carried into the way I will treat an object or a dress. Sometimes I like to give just enough information for the viewer to finish the details of what they are seeing.”