Guna S. Mundheim
This group of drawings and paintings are based on the visual encounters with nature around me. It is the growing, live forms in landscape, their colors and their histories, that are continuously engaging. The two places where I spend most time - an island surrounded by salt water and wetlands in New Jersey and the semi desert at the foothills of the Catalina mountain range in Arizona, are in sharp contrast with each other and yet have parallels. Both places have a harsh climate with sandy, dry soils, hurling winds and extreme temperatures. The plant communities struggle.
The plein air drawings reflect a particular brief moment with an immediate, and often quickly changing visual experience. The light moves, colors and temperatures change, or a car parks right in front of you.
The larger watercolors start with a focus on the particulars of a plant form - it’s essence, its color shape, and the direction of the form. Then one wanders further into space that is ambiguous, where shapes move, emerge and vanish. Other encounters occur and time is non-linear.
Mundheim, who was born in Riga, Latvia, and now lives in New York, has also a strong Philadelphia base. She did an undergraduate degree in chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania and worked in biochemistry. This was followed by full time study at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine and graduate work in Fine Arts at the University of Pennsylvania as a special student with Neil Welliver. She taught watercolor at Penn from 1979 – 1986, while also serving as an Assistant Dean in the College of Arts and Sciences. She was a member of the Rosenfeld Gallery and then the Gross McCLeaf Gallery for 30 years. Having moved to NY, she became a member of the Phoenix Gallery, the oldest artist cooperative gallery in New York City.
Guna Mundheim has had numerous solo exhibitions in Philadelphia, New York as well as Latvia and has received many awards and prizes. She was particularly pleased to be invited to exhibit at the Tohono Chul Gallery in Tucson, in 2020, her new art community.
Mundheim’s work is in numerous public and private collections including the National Museum of Art of Latvia (LNMM) as well as the Wharton School in Philadelphia.
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