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Friedrich Kunath
Blum & Poe Gallery, Culver City, California
Recommendation by Michael Shaw

Friedrich Kunath, “I Need Someone Like Me,” 2017, acrylic and ink on canvas, 72 x 60 x 1 1/2"


Friedrich Kunath’s latest controlled chaotic installation, "Frutti di Mare," is another tour de force … complete with carpeting. He continues to successfully mine a world populated with cheeky melancholia and revved-up clichés of romanticism to surprisingly (and counter-intuitively) moving effect. A video embedded in a wall-mounted piano (“Gee It’s Nice to be Alone") provides a subtly sad soundtrack to the multi-roomed affair, which includes carpeting in two of the larger spaces, all the better to host the assortment of artfully scattered dyed cotton socks (also featured in two sculptures), a skinny ladder with oil-painted rungs, a painting mounted behind a windowed façade, and an ottoman upholstered with the waist-and-butt end of a pair of jeans. As opposed to other “painter-and...” exhibitions, in which a painter includes sculptures and mixed-media installation as if to prove that can do more than juts paint, with Kunath it’s still about painting, albeit evolving it and expanding the context of its viewing that adds to the fun, if that’s not too anti-serious a word. Indeed, there’s great pleasure to be taken from his (mostly) brightly colored, Friedrich-ian (as in his namesake of sorts, Caspar David Friedrich) landscapes and interiors which proffer complex imagery from up close and from afar. With the South Gallery hung salon-style (the spinning landscape “I Need Someone Like Me” is the clear favorite here), and Gallery Three a rainbow spectrum of seven paintings reflecting off a mirrored floor, it’s easy to make the case that there’s just too much. But it’s not too much to keep you from feeling that, by the time you depart, you’ve achieved a melancholy high.

Blum & Poe Gallery

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