Robert Bunkin: Inside Out

exhibition dates: September 4 - 29, 2012

reception: Saturday, September 8, 2 - 5 pm

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The Painting Center opens its fall season with Inside Out, paintings by Robert Bunkin. This is Bunkins second show at The Painting Center, and his first solo show in the Chelsea location. His newest works deal with the challenge of contre-jour, painting the figure against the luminous background of a window. This throws the figure into a silhouette, limiting the psychological availability of the face and body, but for Bunkin it provides an opportunity to look into the darks to find the subtle modulations of color and value with which to produce a vivid likeness. It also pushes him to go beyond the controlled environment of the interior space, bringing in the local landscape as an aspect of portraiture. Each sitter poses in his/her own environment, so the features of the landscape seen through the window vie with the features of the model. The figure, embraced by light, looms against our urban or suburban context. Along with these works are other recent paintings that Bunkin has produced in the past five years or so. All of his work is an investigation of the continued validity of representational painting, particularly of the figure. Bunkin also explores scale, working from the minute, in a series of 2x3 inch portraits (in homage to the great portrait miniaturists of the 16th-19th centuries) to over-life size portraits. Bunkin has shown extensively in New York, nationally and in Italy, where he lived and studied. He is the art curator of the Staten Island Museum and teaches both art history and painting at the Borough of Manhattan Community College.