In the artist statement for The Fun Machine Died, Martin Kuntz posits that we are so overrun with imagery that most images have lost all meaning. In order to reassign meaning to this cacophony of images presented, he's devoted his work to exploring "how images affect the subconscious regarding issues ranging from gender roles and masculinity, to violence, wealth, and death." And these efforts, which draw on a wide swath of imagery from American popular culture, are largely successful.
The way the compositions bend along with the contours of logos and images and the contrast created by the way shapes and colors interact are impressive, and produce a disorienting effect. The pieces that reference scrambled cable television do so with a surprisingly bold implementation of color and a more sparse dispersal of digital squares than might be expected, leading to rich compositions.
Kuntz's art shares sensibilities, attitudes and reference points with Bjorn Copeland, Jeff Koons and Andy Warhol. His painterly skill is extremely strong in most areas, but if he could perfect a photorealistic touch, his paintings would be greatly improved. Overall, this is a group of paintings that succeeds in presenting a view of American culture that is simultaneously bright, dark, beautiful, ugly, horrifying and ultimately meaningful. Through June 22 at Primary Gallery