Thursday, April 19, 2012

Richard Bunkall

Richard Bunkall
In a fascinating series, Pasadena artist Richard Bunkall explored juxtapositions of building facades with airships, locomotives, ships and whales, along with quotes from Mellville and other sources.

Older series focus on movie theater marquees and building faces, as well as more straightforward cityscapes. All are rendered with Bunkall’s wonderfully textural approach, in which a muted palette, softened edges, rough brushstrokes, scumbling and scraping produce a visceral feeling of stone surfaces.

Bunkall also worked with dramatic light and dark within his architectural spaces, as well as playful suggestions of unusual scale.

The official Richard Bunkall website features a selection of his work from several points in his career. Be sure to click through to the larger images, which are large enough to get some idea of the appeal of his large scale canvasses (though the server seems a bit slow, and it can take some patience to look through them).

There is also an Unofficial Flickr set that extends the range of visible work and a selection on Kennebeck Fine Art.

Bunkall’s life and career were cut short by A.L.S. (known as Lou Gehrig’s Diesase) a debilitating neuromuscular condition that gradually removes the ability to control one’s muscles. Through his struggle with the disease, Bunkall continued to paint, with adaptations of how the brush was held, or strapped to his hand, or with his body propped in positions that allowed him access to the canvas.

There is a new collection of his work. It was just published during an exhibition at the Pasadena Museum of California Art which ends on April 22, 2012.

The book can be ordered directly from the website, and a portion of the proceeds will go to the Richard Bunkall Research Fund at Project A.L.S.

[Via William Wray]

10 thoughts on “Richard Bunkall

  1. e.larsen

    lovely post. thanks for it. Richard was also a much beloved and highly respected painting instructor at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. As such, he was very influential on a lot of young minds.

    As you mention, it’s almost impossible to describe how physical these things actually are in person. The paintings are incredibly sculptural.

    Sure do miss him. He was a great guy.

  2. ceparie

    “wonderfully textural approach, in which a muted palette, softened edges, rough brushstrokes, scumbling and scraping produce a visceral feeling” Yes! Yes!

  3. David J. Teter

    I had the privilege of being a student of his at Art Center College of Design when he taught a Head Painting class. Richard was always an enthusiastic teacher and all around genuine nice guy. He loved painting and teaching it to us students, always with great passion.
    A highlight of my student days there was visiting his studio and seeing some of his large New York cityscapes in progress.

    I learned so much about painting and especially how to look at paintings, in museums and such, from him.

  4. Joe

    Thanks so much for posting this. I dropped everything and ran over to the museum yesterday with an hour and a half to spare. …and it was well worth it. Mr. Bunkall’s paintings are even more beautiful in person!

  5. David J. Teter

    Yeah, really great show. Saw it yesterday too. A couple of his sketchbooks on display, as well as works on paper and his sculptures. Sounds like Joe and I were there at the same time.

    There MAY be talk of another in the future (according to the staff member in the museum store), hopefully some of his earlier cityscape paintings.

  6. Debbie Allen-New

    An inspiring insructor at ArtCenter,what a loss after his time that all art students couldn’t have enjoyed his amazing yet humble attitude of the art of painting, joy of seeing color and not giving up on some of us. What an exemplary human being and artist that helps all of us to see a little more joy and intrigue in this world. I was always very grateful to have had his input in my art education. Now that I am an instructor, I hope to be able to even have a small amount of his talent to teach others.

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