Shanna Kunz, contemporary landscape painter, sees every painting as “an encounter with the land, the trees, and the waters that have always given me a sense of connection and order.” She communicates emotional attachment with the landscapes she paints, with the mission of sharing that beauty and emotion with the viewer. She proclaims that every moment of painting brings her joy.
Some art media has referred to her work as “tonalist”, and that is certainly evident in many of the paintings and her published watercolors (visit her website at www.shannakunz.com). However, she told us self-referentially, and experiencing her work demonstrates, that she is drawn toward an impressionist interpretation of modern tonalism, considerably influenced by the works of Dwight W. Tryon and late 19th-early 20th century American tonalists.
The paintings are complete when she has provided the nuanced complexity of impressionism to the layers and gradations in her subject matter to bring out the emotion of the scenes. That additional layer of meaning separates the work from textbook tonalism, and secures a position opposite that of tonalism’s minimalist edge.
Mountain Trails Gallery, Jackson Hole, Wyoming (www.mtntrails.net), held a gracious opening reception for her work on August 21, 2010. Many of the pieces on display clearly communicated a sense of place – often from the immediate Teton region and from the Wasatch Mountains of Utah – and a great sense of peace.
All of the works exhibited except for one were oils (one watercolor of a stand of aspens is exquisite), and all the oils except for one were rendered in the tones of summer (one winter scene is very evocative).
We had an opportunity to converse with Shanna at length during the reception, and found her to be warm and truly genuine in her quest to bring an honest translation of the natural environment into her work. Always seeking to draw out the emotions she perceives in the natural environment, she expertly imbues them through the work into the viewer. Sharing the beauty of nature with those who cannot immerse themselves into it on a daily basis is a great ability, Her enthusiasm and artistic talent as she successfully pursues that endeavor illuminates both her and her work!
As we pursue our paths toward reforming our approach to work and life, infusing a recapitulation of our beneficial formative experiences and values to identify what is salutary, casting off the dross in order to embark on a renaissance life, we may benefit from Shanna Kunz’s approach to her art, an example that does not sacrificing vision, excellence, authenticity or emotion, and always communicates an