There is a magical quality to Brad Kunkle’s paintings that is difficult to capture online and in print alone. The Brooklyn based painter combines oil painting with gold and silver leaf to create ethereal visions of women, often in a state of transcendence or as if they are on some spiritual quest. We first featured Brad Kunkle in Hi-Fructose Vol 25, who seeks to go beyond the limits of the ordinary human experience. Looking at his art requires a deepening of our perceptions, and to filmmaker Brennan Stasiewicz, it holds a humanizing power.
“I have been energized by the emergence of women at the forefront of powerful commercial and non-commercial messages,” says Stasiewicz. “I wondered how I could contribute to this momentum and celebration. As a man, I wanted to show the inspirational empowerment that women can give to not only other women, but to all of us. And in meeting Brad we found that common desire. I hope this film conveys that desire.” The result of their meeting is the short documentary film titled “A Beholden Purpose” released this week.
The film is a window into Kunkle’s conceptual process, who regards the women he paints as real beings, much more than spiritual fantasies. He once described them as living things that come to life by the surrounding light that shimmers off of his work’s metallic surfaces. And in the context of today’s world, they become symbols of how to wade through artificial stimulation, whether it be through advertising or technology: “I think the women in my work, the feminine in general, embodies the ability to be intuitive. We all want to find our purpose, and I think one of the things that being intuitive does is help us find our purpose,” Kunkle explains. “I think the more we connect with the moment we are in, the easier it is us for us to connect with our intuition and listen to our instincts- I think we need to be in the moment if we want to feel alive.”
The following are works by Brad Kunkle featured in the film.