The Underbelly of Los Angeles, Work by Kris Cunz on Display at SPARC Gallery

Street Shrieks: August 12-September 29

The South Pasadena Arts Council (SPARC) is pleased to present our next exhibition, Kris Cunz–Street Shrieks at SPARC Gallery, located at the South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce on Mission Street. Sam Mellon of the South Pasadena curatorial design firm MICRONAUT curated the exhibition.

Over the past twenty years, Los Angeles painter Kris Cunz has paid acute attention to the alleys, backstreets and hidden underbelly of the city as it spreads out against Southern California skies. Solitary figures, their features obscured in washes of monochrome paint, roam amidst industrial buildings in silent protest, evoking the emotional pain of the marginalized, forgotten, and underprivileged. Bright, unrelenting light pierces the raw, uninviting terrain, revealing contemporary urban life’s grittier undercurrents. Cunz’ imagery, at once hyper-realistic and expressive, depicts an “any city,” yet one that is distinctly American, wrestling a surreal aesthetic from the discarded urban spaces in which Cunz has lived and worked.

Inspired by Edvard Munch’s famous painting The Scream from 1892, Street Shrieks is a mid-career survey of this little-known Southern California artist. Cunz initially worked toward the realistic depiction of buildings and surfaces, augmenting his paintings with scraps of canvas, like a master model-maker. In light of current political events, however, his practice has taken a distinct turn toward a more fluid, painterly approach. Today, he fusses less with painstaking detail, working instead with expressive marks and brushstrokes that emit a passionate plea for basic human rights in a new American reality. “I feel a growing divide between the groups among us,” Cunz notes. “The fractions are numerous and vast, so I’m starting to add people into my compositions. My portraits create a situation of confrontation, representative of an impression I take away after a momentary glimpse or intense meeting…”

SPARC Gallery Hours are Tuesday – Friday 10am – 5 pm or by appointment. Please call the Chamber office before arriving. 626-441-2339.