Brad Kunkle

Brad Kunkle
Gold is an extraordinarily malleable material. When hammered into very thin sheets, a kind of foil called “gold leaf”, a very small amount can cover a relatively large area, and it can be applied to surfaces for decorative effect.

Gold leaf has been applied to art objects and decorative surfaces through much of recorded history. The most common application familiar to contemporary artists is in the gilding of picture frames.

New York based artist Brad Kunkle, who has a background applying metal leaf as a decorative artist when he was younger, incorporates gold and silver leaf directly into his oil paintings, utilizing the material both for its symbolic and physical and visual properties.

Kunkle uses a very controlled, almost monochromatic palette in his paintings, the subjects of which are women, either in landscapes or amid elements of nature that are often in flux or in motion and in defiance of gravity or other natural laws.

Kunkle uses his metallic elements, pushed forward by the grisaille-like palette, to emphasize these magical or metaphysical suggestions, giving his images a kind of implied magic, perhaps coming full circle to one of the characteristics that has been ascribed to precious metals, and gold in particular, throughout their historic use in art related to religion and ritual.

Kunkle’s work in currently on display in a solo show, The Women in the Fields of Gold, at the Arcadia Fine Arts gallery (Soho) in New York that runs until May 5. 2012.

Unfortunately, the Arcadia gallery’s website (though much improved over its previous versions) has navigation within a Flash file, and I can’t give you direct links. From the home page, choose: Exhibitions: Soho for a view of works in the show (while it’s current), and select the artist’s name from the main list on the home page to view his work as represented by the gallery at other times.

There is a Step by Step process series on Underpaintings.


9 Replies to “Brad Kunkle”

  1. FABULOUS! I’ve tried this approach on a limited basis with letter forms, never incorporating them within the parameters of the images themselves. Thanks for posting. It’s wonderful to see gold and silver used so artfully.

  2. Interesting how his background is in gold leaf but in his paintings melancholy pervades. I notice all the girls are grey monochrome like the life has been sucked out of them and they’re adrift in their barren landscapes.

  3. No, doesn`t do it for me, which is a bit surprising ! Perhaps the images are all rather too melancholy, or that the girls are too close to the models that were most likely used, or that they lack any kind of life – in fact, as paintings go, they do appear to be quite dead !
    Only a personal observation, and no slight intended towards the artist.

  4. Charley, I find that Arcadia’s Facebook page is often a better resource than their official site. They post a lot of photos from shows, and generally the photos are larger than the ones on their flash site. Facebook scales them to fit your browser window, of course, but you can right-click any photo and select “open image in new tab” to see a regular, full-size version. They have a photo gallery up with all the paintings from Brad Kunkle’s new show, and also a lot of work from past shows by other artists…

  5. Thanks, Ben. Thats good to know.

    As a general rule, however, I don’t link to Facebook pages for artists I featue. It’s a basic policy I have of not linking to sites or pages that require an account or login (as the Arcadia galleries do if you want to get past the first level). I doubt this is Arcadia’s decision, it’s another of Facebook’s policies designed to get everyone logged in to Facebook and keep them there.

  6. That’s a sensible rule, I think.

    I really wish that Arcadia would get a better website design. The Flash interface that they use now is somewhat better than the one that they used to use, but it’s still pretty awful.

  7. What matter is not only the resources on how paintings are made, but also the purpose on why it is being made. Paintings are reflections of how imaginative is the one who made it, of how they put into art their passion about their emotions, everything that surrounds them, or even their environment. It is a good will and art to express on how they feel, that is why paintings are valuable to everyone. Thank you so much for posting such stuffs like this, your site did give me wonderful lessons about paintings. God bless! :)

  8. I have some images from his new show. I was just at Arcadia last week, if anyone is interested. I had found Kunkle on American Painting Video Magazine, and honestly wasn’t that impressed… Then I saw his paintings in person at Arcadia, and I was blown away. Kunkle paints in glazes like the old masters. It was absolutely amazing. His new body of work has some incredible compositions, and he shows off by painting large and small with the same delicacy and spontaneity.

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