The leaves in Brad Kunkle’s luminescent paintings are genuinely golden. Kunkle embellishes his paintings with gold and silver leaf.
About the work:
As a decorative painter in his mid twenties, he leafed entire walls in copper. He was beguiled by the shifting, life-like nature of the surfaces, and began to incorporate gilding in his work. This proved to fulfill the unreal quality he had been looking for to convey his moody, romantic ideas of human nature and ritual. “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.”