An “open to interpretation” policy is the most realistic gift an artist can give to his or her audience. Although implicitly understood that the artist has a direction or purpose, sometimes the audience fails to properly decode a distinct inspiration. Therefore, the dual understanding that different interpretations come from art is a necessity when presenting abstract imagery.
Kathleen Kucka wants you to come to your own conclusions regarding her exhibition, “New Works,” but she has a few themes on her mind. Stemming from the complexity of identity, reality, and abstraction, she offers multi-dimensional imagery that borders on surrealism. Although the presence of meaning is felt when witnessing this exhibition, it takes a backseat to the overwhelming aesthetic nature of her work.
Using a unique process that involves pouring acrylic paint onto a linen canvas, Kucka creates a layered look that engenders two conflicting stylistic choices. From a distance, the layers appear seamless and strategically fluid, but a closer look reveals extreme detail, contours, and artistry otherwise not fully appreciated.
The colorful background in each of her pieces represents the base of what is to follow. Kucka successfully creates the appearance of naturally moving paint in waves or straight lines that illustrate the instruments of art taking their own shape. At first, the geometric, topographical layers that follow add a puzzling distraction from the multitude of color behind it. The topical “ribbons” of paint dance in circles and possess a maze-like quality that begs to be noticed. At a second glance, however, the artistic choice appears to be agreeable. The foreground/background complement one another by providing creative extensions to the otherwise limited dimension of their individual aesthetic objective.
Her exploration of identity can be translated from the strategic way in which she adds texture to her work. The structure of the “ribbon” disrupts the viewer’s attention from the stylistic background to the geometric foreground and introduces the idea of relationship and how ideas, imagery, and beings are separate from one another, yet connected at the same time.
“New Works” marks the artist’s complete transformation into the incorporation of color. Earlier works appear similar in construction and artistry, but lack the colorful element this particular exhibition exudes. Although the words “pattern,” “maze,” and “geometry” come up frequently when Kucka’s work is described, there seems to be an organic nature to her finished product. Whether her work inspires thoughts of identity, illusion, shapes, or whatever, the viewer is guaranteed a reflective experience that Kucka is happy to have prompted.