ANNA KUNZ: VENUS
SMITH CENTER FOR THE ARTS
63 EATON STREET PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND
THROUGH FEBRUARY 24
by Suzanne Volmer
Known for its theater, Chicago has a cadre of contemporary visual artists garnering national and international attention due to their performative edge. New England audiences can explore a ripple of that hybrid world with “Anna Kunz: Venus,” an art exhibition from the Windy City on view through February 24 at the Reilly Gallery at Providence College.
In this multimedia show, Kunz’ style of painting expresses a Rolodex of top notes, mixing visual references to Kandinsky, Delaunay, Diebenkorn and Frankenthaler. It simultaneously combines the dance-sourced influences of Diaghilev, Duncan and Cunningham. Not surprisingly, Kunz has recently created stage decor for Chicago performances of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. Speaking to spectacle: this exhibition mingles video projection and props with a wall-size painting composed of gauze scrims refashioned out of materials from “Warped,” a vaulted curtain that Kunz first exhibited at the EXPO Chicago Fair in 2016.
Kunz has the aesthetic of a gleaner. She relates to materials and methods in a style of appropriation, which intellectually roams and blends diverse influences into a situational equilibrium. Her path of experimentation is reminiscent of Robert Rauschenberg’s American style as she fuses into her art-making a “more is better” address that is characteristic of her prolific painting practice. Kunz manipulates an extremely broad range of art historical references, sharing with viewers a spectrum of association that she handles with reductive control.
“Venus” is a show with elements both composed and in dishabille. It is an exhibition of parts brought into relationship by the artist and Providence College Galleries director and curator Jamilee Lacy, considering dimension in this artist’s oeuvre. Lacy described the show as “a world of painting on the verge of expanding.”