AT FACE VALUE

AT FACE VALUE

Caroline Kunka

January 12 - May 26, 2024

OPENING EVENT: February 2, 2024 | 5 - 9 PM

Caroline Kunka is a multidisciplinary illustration artist who explores emotive faces in both two and three dimensions, experimenting with a range of materials from clay to airbrush paint and fabric. These varied examinations showcase a range of techniques based on Kunka’s interest in facial expressions and human emotion. As a trained illustrator, Kunka frequently drew faces, but felt limited by the commercial constraints of the trade. These limitations inspired Kunka to creatively pivot towards materials and a practice based in practicality, enjoyment, and play.

To creatively expand herself, Kunka began to work three-dimensionally, fully constructing faces and bodies in Sculpey; a clay that is baked in a conventional oven. Sculpey does not require a kiln, a key necessity for ceramics, and also an expense not always affordable for artists who are interested in working with clay. Kunka found freedom with the material, an extension of her technical abilities more fully realized. As a frequently considered material used for craft-like projects, Sculpey becomes a fine art medium through Kunka’s illustrations.

While considering alternate modes of expression, Kunka also began experimenting with sewing garments, many of which incorporate used fabric and thrifted clothes. Kunka found yet another medium to illustrate with and began using the surface of the fabric as a canvas for airbrush painting. In a similar vein to her sculptures, her emotional faces become the central focus of thrifted t-shirts and hand-sewn, original fashions. However, in contrast to the sculpture, the painted fabric presents an opportunity for more finite details and gestures.

In a bid to reimagine how illustration can manifest, Kunka continuously engages with possibility and intuition; both of which are critical in blurring the boundaries of what is considered a fine art medium. She consistently provokes the idea of materials with conflating concepts of value, a core tenant of the fine art world. Beyond that, Kunka’s resilient experimentation with these materials is a testament to an artist’s capacity to transmit inherent talent and ability into foundational bodies of work that speak for themselves regardless of their materiality. 

E. Avery Draper Gallery

Exhibitions Galleries Museums Northern Delaware

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The Delaware Contemporary
200 S. Madison Street
Wilmington, DE 19801

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