Karel Funk produces portraits of men shown in head-and-shoulders view, painted in acrylic on wood panels. Dressed in protective outdoor clothing, the subjects are often seen in three-quarter profile or from behind, with their heads bowed or covered with a hood, so that we are rarely allowed to meet the models’ gaze. Each of them is set against a neutral, all-white background, setting off the figure in a vague space that lacks any real depth. His paintings suggest multiple references to art history, in particular to certain Renaissance portraits, but remain firmly rooted in the present.
The fascination exerted by Karel Funk’s work stems in large part from the tensions between the extreme precision of the rendering and the imprecision of the space, between the revelation of the body and the restraint of the pose, between the personal and the anonymous.