An Artful Moment: Brad Kunkle

For the sake of an aesthetically fruitful collaboration between eye and mind:

“The Crown Jewel”

“Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks.” – Simonides

“Alchemy of Sleep”

Brad Kunkle is a contemporary American artist who paints dreamlike scenes of women swathed or adorned with leaves, and he embellishes the surfaces of these paintings with genuine gold and silver leaf.


In Kunkle’s words, “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.”


“On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer,” by John Keats

“Much have I traveled in the realms of gold
And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;
Round many western islands have I been
Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.
Oft of one wide expanse had I been told
That deep-browed Homer ruled as his demesne;
Yet never did I breathe its pure serene
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold:
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
He stared at the Pacific—and all his men
Looked at each other with a wild surmise—
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.”


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