Edward Weston would be eating his own peppers and tearing them apart if he could see Linda Kunik’s strangely wonderful JUICE. Kunik redefines the still life genre of painting and photography. She boldly discards staid notions of old school renderings of fruits and vegetables in a highly energized, three-stage process in which she comes to intimate terms with an heirloom tomato. RIPE, BULLS-EYE and JUICE is one artist’s visual saga of extreme penetration and objectification of an inanimate subject, which seems to come alive before our eyes.
In RIPE, the artist gleans highly sexualized anatomical postures from her heirloom models. Full on shots of succulent tomatoes seem to pose for her with their corpulent derrieres thrust out in strangely carnal postures that are more whimsical than pornographic (if there is such a thing as tomato porn).
Then in BULLS-EYE, Kunik takes her tomatoes into the studio and graphically positions them on a white background, where they become shapes and icons of foodstuffs and tomato culture. These four images would be perfect as international symbols for a ketchup bottle. Big, beefy BULLS-EYES, perfectly symmetrical, line up in a four-color array, looking almost machine made.
Finally in JUICE, Kunik takes us beneath the flesh of her gooey fruits, down past the sinews that support its “body,” deeper inside its cellular structure and into the droplets of moisture that become the JUICE. These sensual images are ablaze with rarified textures and color combinations never seen before.
Curiously, this macro-vision of our world is echoed only by the Hubble's recent telescopic-vision of far-away galaxies, writhing in fantastic clusters and glistening in colors reminiscent of Linda Kunik’s JUICE. What cosmic portent for the humble tomato.
-Phil Tarley, Director, Artist's Corner Gallery