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Anna Kunz
Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, Illinois
Recommendation by Robin Dluzen

Anna Kunz, “Color Cast” installation view, 2018, at Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago

Continuing through June 24, 2018

In the most basic sense, Anna Kunz’s “Color Cast” is a gallery-sized abstract painting. A portion of the Chicago artist’s practice is formalist painting on canvas, traditional in most respects, but uniquely identifiable with her signature transparent layering and vibrant hues. Another part of her practice is installation-based, her forms bounding from the rectangle onto walls and windows, and floating in three-dimensional space. Kunz eschews the stretched canvas, not as a gesture in dismantling tradition, but as a way to amplify some of what abstract painting does best. We are immersed in rather than observers of its formal qualities.

In “Color Cast,” walls are painted with blocks of color up to the ceiling, intersecting with enormous painted and digitally printed papers and fabrics suspended from the ceiling. Walking among these guides us up onto a wooden platform, the vibrations from a hidden mechanism below rising from the soles of our feet while ambient sounds fill our ears. Art world terminology describes colors as “vibrating” or “speaking,” and shapes as “moving” or pushing back and forth in “space,” when applied to abstract painting. In Kunz’s work, these words are not theoretical or illusionistic, they are literal. In “Color Cast,” these descriptors are physical and actual, making this installation inclusive and accessible in a manner that defies the rather impervious character of formalism today.

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