In Anna Kunz’s paintings, tessellating, seeping bodies of color mingle and levitate, resulting in lifted, sometimes dissonant, harmonies, often landing in surprising resolutions. These relationships and reactions occur simultaneously, like an entire improvisational jazz arrangement played as the receiver encounters each pitch and chord of color. Unexpected notes of form provide a site of, in the artist’s words, “shared sensory experiences and the temporary disruption of social and material boundaries.”
Kunz received an MFA from Northwestern University, Evanston, IL and a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL. Kunz participated as an artist-in-residence in the Marie Walsh Sharpe Studio Program, Brooklyn, NY; and The Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, ME, among others. The artist’s work has been exhibited at: McCormick Gallery, Chicago, IL; The Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, IL; Providence College Galleries, Providence, RI; TSA Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, Brooklyn, NY, and Madrid, Spain; and WhiteBox, New York, NY. Her work is included in the public collections of The Philadelphia Museum, Philadelphia, PA; The Block Museum, Chicago, IL; and Columbia University Teachers College, New York, NY; among others. Kunz has been honored with nominations from: 3Arts Foundation, Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, Emerging Artist award from the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Artadia finalist, Chicago, the Rema Hort-Mann Foundation’s Individual Artists Grant, and The Joan Mitchell Foundation. The artist lives and works in Chicago, IL.
Anna Kunz in the studio, Chicago, IL. Photo: Yangze Wang
Chicago Gallery News: You have talked about choreographing color – what does that mean to you?
Anna Kunz: I always feel like I understand dance, poetry and music better than painting. Choreography and dance use the body as material and turn ritual actions into a kind of poetry. It is very similar to the way I approach my process. Colors are stand-ins for relationships I observe in nature’s structures, or even the social sphere. I think of color as a body that generates forms and creates relationships and movement. My approach to choreography in painting means I pay attention to time and space on the surface to generate compositions. There is a word choreographers use–kinesphere–the arena or the space around the body. I translate this in painting to be the canvas or architectural space (in the case of my installations).
Anna Kunz makes works on paper, paintings, sculptures, installations, and projects that seep out of the rectangle, often using painted and dyed fabrics that function like nets to capture and manipulate light and color. Her experiential works are often combined with objects or surfaces that add complexity and invite viewers to structure the space in time by passing through them.
This week, a new group exhibition opens at Alexander Berggruen in New York. Called Shapes, the show explores geometric abstraction by artists both new and old (or dead): Marina Adams and Ellsworth Kelly; Ethan Cook and Imi Knoebel; Sam Moyer and Sol LeWitt. From top: Anna Kunz, Ethan Cook, and Paul Kremer.
We are pleased to share with you a new essay, “Anna Kunz: With Rays,” written by Nell Andrew. Following the artist’s gesture and her inspirations from modernism, Andrew dives into the life Kunz imbues into her paintings via color.
This essay was published on the occasion of the exhibition Anna Kunz: With Rays (October 20-November 20, 2021) at Alexander Berggruen, NY.