Paul Hunter paints luminous abstract landscapes on gold and metal leaf covered canvasses. He has adapted the centuries-old techniques of applying gold leafing and creating shimmering patinas to express his Modernist vision, one that has luminosity as its underlying theme. The artist paints imagined landscapes from his memories, travels, and extensive knowledge of art from many periods and cultures. Based in New York City, where he has lived and worked since the 1980s, his paintings reflect both aspects of living in such an intense place. Much of his work expresses the explosive energy and dynamism of this exceptionally dense and diverse city, while other paintings are infused with a yearning for vast spaces of illuminated minimalism.
Paul Hunter often unifies a great variety of techniques, combining gold leaf, gestural expressionistic strokes of paint, layers of additional metal leafing, and patination to create a uniquely radiant effect by exploiting their different colors and reflective properties. In a single landscape, the artist might, for example pair a pure 23 karat gold leaf “sky” with bronze leaf “water”. He might then oxidize the bronze leafed area by painting over it with patination acids to create gestural abstract areas of movement that contrast with the sheen of the gold above creating a dynamic contrast for the eye.
Paul Hunter paints directly onto the metal or gold leafed surface with acrylic paints and metallic pigments. In some paintings transparent pigments allow the gold to shimmer through the paint to create an effect of depth. In other landscapes, opaque paints create a contrast to the exceptional glow of the gold and the aged metal surfaces. By moving in front of the painting and shifting the viewing angle, the viewer can alter the light and the shadow that fall onto the landscape and thereby witness the passage of time through light. Similarly, the changing light over the course of a day dramatically alters the luminosity of an individual painting.
The artist has mentioned that in addition to remembered landscapes, he is also recalling certain musical characteristics, and has compared landscapes to music. Like a walk through a landscape, music unfolds over time, in a flow, with beginnings and ends, and crescendos and lulls, depending on what we notice, or where we started. He acknowledges as well, aspects of traditional Asian art in his use of panels, gold, and non-geometric perspective.
Paul Hunter’s work is in private, corporate and museum collections. Paul Hunter is represented internationally, and has shown in solo and group exhibitions in the USA, Canada, Europe, the United Arab Emirates, India, China and Japan. His work has been exhibited in many museums including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Alternative Museum, the Drawing Center, P.S. 1, the Montclair Art Museum, the Museum of Princeton University, the Knoxville Museum of Art, the Indiana University Museum, the Brauweiler Abbey near Cologne, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Quebec Museum.
He has received numerous awards, among them are the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, Artists Space, National Studio Program: PS 1, Institute for Art & Urban Resources, Canada Council and Quebec Arts Fellowship.
Paul Hunter lives and works in New York City with his wife and sons.