Faint Young Suns | John Bunker | Unit 3 Projects
Bunker’s latest outing, ‘Faint Young Suns’, takes its name from Cosmologist’s slang for stars that are still growing- gradually increasing their individual quality of light energy- a light that will carve out the destiny of their evolving solar systems. Bunker sees a parallel with his changing approach to making paintings. The elegant tonal arrangements of found materials for which Bunker is known have taken a back seat. Now, it seems, Bunker is working more with paint and treating colour like a raw and unstable energy. By forcing ever more densely packed fragments of paint together, it’s almost as though a kind of visual equivalent to atomic fission is being sought out. Each artwork seems to be a gathering up of contrasting colour forces, cued to engender a chain reaction, and in the process, exuding a new kind of painterly energy.
It’s no accident though, that the origins of these artworks stand in stark contrast to the intimations of the cosmological. All the materials in play are formed of the detritus of making, of the very haptic machinations of everyday activities of spreading out paint on various surfaces from studio floor, to canvas, to glass panels, to paper stripped from advertising hoardings. Fragments are then chipped, ripped, chiselled and peeled away from their original settings at different points in the drying process. From these initial starting points the acrylic paint reveals itself as a harbourer of a plethora of material diversity, laden as it is, with a physical trace-memory of its original sites of application and any detritus that’s been added to the mix.
These abstract works do not aspire to represent the un-representable, ruminate on some notion of the sublime or the ‘music of the spheres’. They are about the endless internal interactions of physical forces; the more one looks at these works, the more they seem to incite a visual charge. The complex interplay of colour and shape create dynamic pressures across these works that build and build with a self-generating energy much like ‘faint young suns’ themselves. All in all, these are abstractions that seek a slow burning brutal beauty unique to themselves but born of a very earthly myriad of visual relationships and materials.