The Body is Present by Meg Duguid
Currently, painting is focused on structure and painters are focused on the formal, pushing and pulling against the edge of the canvas while drawing against the painting history that has come before. At first blush, Anna Kunz is steeped within this moment, but in fact she is not pushing for or against painting history--she is undogmatic. Instead she uses painting as a medium to find the parameters of her own gesture and the viewing of painting to insinuate the viewer into mirroring her movements. Kunz’s work is steeped in the performative—-or more precisely it is set free by performances’ own more unflappable tendencies. It is not a mythic work to be described, but a work of play that gathers the head into the body's form and invites it to partake in any and every subtle resolution. It functions as score and play enmeshed.
Kunz’s paintings are the result of many movements recorded through malleable materials over a sustained period of time. She is a notator; her small paintings become an ambiguous record to eventually be played out on a larger scale. Each time she goes into the studio, she begins with personal scoring exercises, where she is performer and viewer simultaneously charting each minuscule gesture. The head-sized works are intimate documents of ambulations that convert color into a body whose resistance and friction become a marvelous presence. These graphical notations become the score by which she forms abyss into expanse. It is in this moment that Kunz defines the performable visual field and claims her space.
Kunz defines her domestic space as the studio, creating instants of the domestic situational. Her initial slight wrist movements of the scores succumb to grander gestures as her choreography increases to human-scale and finally to room-size. The domestic situational now gives way to the domiciliary situational. Her larger works are not stringently translated from the smaller ones, but instead the small scores are read and re-read two and three times over to create the larger pieces that are physically translated onto each other. This sort of organized movement through graphic approximation can’t help but leave traces of Kunz’s physicality. And the sheer magnitude of interlacing these works together in museum-scale installations creates a spectacle where Kunz’s body is larger than life.
Within this Kunzian structure, the audience is asked to step into her shoes, playing her graphical score and moving in tandem with the paint inhabiting the architecture. In this way Kunz feminizes the entirety of the viewing experience. The audience is not merely a bystander, but instead is implicated in Kunz’s specific motions creating a forced intimacy born out of spectacle. In this implicit relationship Kunz has found a way to sidestep the decades-long misguided discussion of theatrical presence in performative artwork. She has put that to bed in favor of earnest experience. Within these considerable interpretative strategies at play, we are kept keenly aware that the body in all of it interpretations is always present.
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 walking through them.
Kunz’s work has been included in numerous national and international collections. Anna has had exhibitions in Los Angeles, Houston, Brooklyn, San Antonio and the UK and Poland. Recent exhibitions include at LVL3 in Chicago, TERRAIN the outdoor community exhibition space run by Sabina Ott,“Luminae” at White Box NYC- also featuring the work of Louise Fishman and Alexandra Phillips, curated by Juan Puentes, “Color: Fully Engaged”, curated by Jamilee Polson Lacy, “Spectral Landscape” at Gallery 400 UIC, and “The Banner Project” at the Smart Museum on the University of Chicago's campus.
Anna has worked collaboratively with architects, dancers and musicians to create Décor for theatrical and dance productions, namely for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company in 2009. In 2012, Anna collaborated with The Seldoms Dance Co. to create work for their premier performance,” Exit Disclaimer: Science and Fiction Ahead”. Other collaborators include those with choreographer Paige Calderella, Benji Ninja and Family Voguers, and the Performance Collective, “Industry of the Ordinary” for a retrospective at the Chicago Cultural Center.
In addition, Ms. Kunz has served as a curatorial advisor and creative brain-stormer for several private organizations and artists. In 2010, she curated a large, international, outdoor exhibition called “Nature Unframed” for the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, IL. She has operated a “pure platform”, nomadic exhibition space called “Kunz, Vis Projects”, periodically with artist Niels Vis of Amsterdam from her garage in Chicago. Later in 2017, Anna will serve as Director of the Artist run Space, Tiger Strikes Astroid (TSA) Chicago, which was established by Alex Paik in Brooklyn NY, with branches located in Philadelphia and Los Angeles. This collective has gained a reputation both nationally and internationally.
Anna Kunz has been honored with nominations from 2017 3Arts, Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, and an Emerging Artist award from the National Museum of Women in the Arts in WA, D.C, an Artadia Chicago nomination, and 2011 and 2012 was nominated for the Rema Hort-Mann Foundation's Individual Artists Grant in New York City.
She was a resident artist in the Marie Walsh Sharpe Studio Program in NYC, and has been awarded as artist in residence at the Edward Albee Foundation in Montauk, NY, 2014. Her work was recently on view at Cleve Carney Gallery, College of DuPage and appeared in How Much Land at the McCormick Gallery, June 2016, and a group exhibiton curated by Edra Soto for the Chicago Artist’s Coalition in September. She will have upcoming solo exhibitions at Providence College, Rhode Island, the Hyde Park Art Center(2018), Chicago, the University Club in Chicago, and the McCormick Gallery in Chicago and Galleri Urbane in Dallas April 2017. She is represented by Galleri Urbaine in Dallas, Texas and McCormick Gallery in Chicago, IL.
Chicago Gallery News
Summer in DUMBO: A Visit to the Sharpe Foundation
The Industry Of The Ordinary
White Box NY
Reema Hort Mann Foundation
Interview by Anastasia Karpova-Tirani
Two Coats of Paint
TSA Brooklyn Magazine
Review IN/SITU / EXPO Projects SFAQ
FRESH VUE: Anna Kunz EXPO Projects Inside/Within
Galleri Urbane Dallas - Heroes for Ghosts Review
Interview by Kate Pollasch
Essay by Pamela Fraser
Essay by Margaret Hawkins
Essay by James Yood
Essay by Anne Harris
Essay by Monica Westin
Essay by Sabina Ott for Yellow Pinto