Winnipeg-born and -based painter Karel Funk is known for his mesmerizing portraits of lone figures in contemporary gear. The WAG is proud to present the largest and first true survey of work by the internationally celebrated artist, bringing together portraits from across North America.
The subtle evolution of Funk’s practice is explored, beginning with the artist’s meditative paintings of hooded figures, responses to conflicting senses of intimacy and anonymity he experienced on New York subways. In his most recent work, the human form is abandoned and replaced by images of bundled, crumpled, and knotted outerwear.
The figures that populate most of Funk’s portraits exude a silent contemplation that places them in dialogue with the post-humanist figurative painting tradition: from the Italian and Northern Renaissance to Photorealism and Contemporary Urbanism. Using acrylic paint, Funk builds his paintings through a glazing technique, often taking months to complete one painting.
Funk's work is held in major museum collections, including the Guggenheim and the Whitney in New York, the National Gallery of Canada, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.