Since 2004, Melissa Kuntz has been painting and exhibiting representational works based on photographs she has taken of locations of leisure and artifice, including South Beach, Las Vegas, Coney Island, Cozumel, the New Jersey shore, Conneaut Lake, and Niagara Falls, to name a few. Her images have captured a particular aesthetic in the signage and architecture of these well-known vacation spots. Drawn to the tawdry, gaudy, cheapness associated with the decadent lifestyles that allow for vacation time, Kuntz’s new paintings presented in Caravan are an extension of this aesthetic.
“I find the ‘vacation’ home—motor homes, travel trailers and caravans—appealing for the same reasons I am attracted to the other architecture and signage of ‘leisure,’ says Kuntz. “Quirky difference in the graphics, style and design suggest endless possible permutations. I travel 75 miles each way, through the countryside to work, and am struck by the numbers of motor homes and travel trailers that are abandoned, discarded and unused littering the landscape. I particularly enjoy the way the trailers are often adorned in a way that seems uninhibited—it is like there exists a freedom to explore tacky, cheapness that is bizarrely alluring in the land of “vacation” but not in everyday life. The sense of hopefulness that existed when the trailers were acquired—dreams of uninhibited, unending travel and exploration—are halted by the realities of finances and time. And the beautiful, often decaying trailer is a metaphor for the small, however unrealistic, hopes that remain of one day embarking on a great adventure.”
About Melissa Kuntz
Melissa Kuntz holds an MFA and an MA from SUNY Purchase and a BFA from Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Kuntz has written reviews for
Art in America and the Pittsburgh City Paper while also maintaining a studio practice. She is currently Associate Professor and Art Department Chair at Clarion University of Pennsylvania. Recent collections include the Senvest Art Collection (Montréal) and Fidelity Corporate Art Collection. She is represented, in Canada, by Gallery Page and Strange in Halifax, NS. Works can be seen online at http://www.melissakuntz1.com