April 23, 2004 - June 4, 2004
Born 1975, Cleveland, OH
Lives and works in Miami, FL
2002-2003 Chelsea School of Art, London, UK
1999 B.F.A., Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland, OH
1997 Edinburgh College of Art, Edinburgh, Scotland
2014 accidental documentaries, SHAHEEN modern and contemporary art, Cleveland, OH
2009 we left with our hearts tired, SHAHEEN modern and contemporary art, Cleveland, OH
2008 authors wrote of places i had never seen, The Melvin Gallery at Florida Southern College, Lakeland, FL
2007 sundays were spent talking of rockets, Art and Culture Center of Hollywood, Hollywood, FL
music for people without friends, Kevin Bruk Gallery, Miami, FL
2006 broken smiles, lost tragedies, fractured talks, and in the end, it was perfect, Kevin Bruk Gallery, Miami, FL
2005 Kevin Bruk Gallery (at Art Basel Miami: Nova section, Miami, FL)
2004 ....and no one had anything to say, SHAHEEN modern and contemporary art, Cleveland, OH
2003 what fun our life could have been, Kevin Bruk Gallery, Miami, FL
2002 Blum & Poe, Santa Monica, CA, (two person exhibition with Aaron Noble)
2000 the days are spent..., SHAHEEN modern and contemporary art, Cleveland, OH
2013 Koi No Yokan, 101/exhibit, Los Angeles, CA
2009 Time + Temp, Art and Culture Center of Hollywood, Hollywood, FL
Light of Day, William Busta Gallery, Cleveland, OH
2008 Thoughts on Democracy, Wolfsonian Museum, Miami Beach, FL
Summer Show, Marlborough Gallery, Chelsea, New York, NY
2005 Drawing Narrative, Wooster Art Museum, Wooster, OH
Syzygy, SHAHEEN, Cleveland, OH
Beautiful Dreamer, Spaces Gallery, Cleveland, OH
2004 Eye of the Needle, Roberts & Tilton, Los Angeles, CA
Light and Atmosphere (curated by Cheryl Hartup), Miami Art Museum. Miami, FL
2003 40" x 30", Kevin Bruk Gallery (at Art Basel Miami: Positions section, Miami, FL)
East International (curated/selected by Toby Webster and Eva Rothschild), Norwich Gallery, Norwich College of Art and
2000 Trailer, GreeneNaftali Inc., New York, NY
1999 Student Independent Exhibition, The Reinberger Galleries, Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland, OH (awarded "Best of
Show" - as juried by Matthew Ritchie and Luca Buvoli])
Progressive Art Collection, Mayfield Village, OH
Miami Art Museum, Miami, FL
High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA
The Mugrabi Family Collection
ARTICLES AND REVIEWS
Utter, Douglas Max. Birds, Bees & Beyond, Scene Magazine, April, 2009
Utter, Douglas Max. The Right Stuff, Scene Magazine, April, 2009
Gibson, Allison. Craig Kucia, Beautiful Decay, #Y, 2008
Delgado, Anjanette. Rosa de otono, Vogue Latin America, Sept. 2008
Johnson, Tish. The Radar Art, Coat Check, Miami Modern Luxury, Sept/Oct, 2008
O’Rourke, Jayme. FIM Artist Showcase, Florida International Magazine, Nov. 2007
Trelles, Emma. Artist Craig Kucia’s Hypnotic Way of Remembering, South Florida Sun Sentinal, Oct. 2007
Soler, Eileen. Playful exhibit opens Hollywoo’sd Arts and Cultural Center Season, Miami Herald, Oct. 2007
Mills, Michael. Many Sundays Spent Interpreting Pictures, Broward-Palm Beach New Times, Oct. 2007
Suarez De Jesus, Carlos. Ice Meets Vice, Miami New Times, Sept. 2007
Lynn, John. Primates and Confections, Broward-Palm Beach New Times, Sept. 2007
O’Bourke, Brett. Smash Menagerie, 944 Magazine Miami, August. 2007
Sokol, Brett, Summer 2007 in Pop Culture, Ocean Drive MagazineMiami, August. 2007
Sokol, Brett, Craig Kucia’s Art has childlike appeal-but it’s serious, Miami Herald, July. 2007
Work_and _Word, art.es, No.19, 2007
Weinberg, Michelle. Craig Kucia, Tema Celeste, No. 118, 2006
Moreno, Gean. News, Miami, Contemporary Magazine, No. 86, 2006
Barrenechea, Victor. Wynwood Gallery Walk Delicious. Biscayne Boulevard Times, Oct. 2006
Suarez De Jesus, Carlos. Fall Crawl. Miami New Times. Sept. 2006
Turner, Elisa. Critic's Pick. The Miami Herald, Sept. 2006
Dunlop, Beth. The Art of the Matter. Metropolitan Home, Sept. 2006
Tranberg, Dan. New York Art Fairs help put Clevelanders on the Map. Cleveland Plain Dealer, March 2006
Tranberg, Dan. Beautiful Dreamer Awakens Romantics. Cleveland Plain Dealer, Oct. 2005
Bly, Liz. Perhance to Dream. Cleveland Free Times, Oct. 2005
Utter, Douglas Max. Post-Toastie. Angle Magazine, June 2004
Tranberg, Dan. Painter Has a Way Without Words. Cleveland Plain Dealer, May 2004
Pantsios, Anastasia. Dreams of Children. Cleveland Free Times, May 2004
Einspruch, Franklin. Remain in Light Wheel. Miami New Times, Nov. 2003
Yannopoulos, Charles. Pools of Potential. Cleveland Scene, July 2000
Craig Kucia: ...and no one had anything to say
.....and no one had anything to say
April 23rd - June 4th, 2004
SHAHEEN Modern and Contemporary Art is delighted to announce an exhibition of recent paintings by Cleveland based artist and Cleveland Institute of Art alumnus Craig Kucia. There will be an opening reception for the artist on Friday, April 23rd, from 5:30 - 8:00 p.m. The exhibition will continue through June 4th.
Since his first ever one-person gallery exhibition at SHAHEEN in June of 2000, Craig Kucia's work has been featured in the group exhibition Trailer at GreeneNaftali (NY); a two person exhibition at Blum & Poe (Los Angeles) in the summer of 2002, which co-featured artist Aaron Noble; and a solo exhibition at Miami's Kevin Bruk Gallery this past October. From Fall 2002 - Fall 2003 the artist attended the one year graduate painting program at London's Chelsea School of Art. While in London, Kucia was selected to participate in the 2003 East International exhibition. Held annually at Norwich College of Art and Design's Norwich Gallery, and guest curated by different curators, artists or dealers each year, East International has included dozens of now familiar contemporary artists over the years. In addition to his upcoming exhibition at SHAHEEN, Kucia's work will be appearing in Light and Atmosphere at the Miami Art Museum. Curated by Cheryl Hartup, Light and Atmosphere will also include works in a variety of media by Sean Scully, Rineke Dijkstra, Philip-Lorca di Corcia, and James Casebere, among many others.
Often derived from specific memories or personal photographs, many of Kucia's paintings to date have concerned themselves with childhood, and the conditions and experiences of working-class suburban life. More recently, the artist's imagery has slipped into an increasingly hybridized space between memory and imagination, where childhood and adult recollections and experiences trigger a variety of vaguely narrative, partially imagined and, sometimes, metaphorical scenes. Kucia's paintings synthesize his awareness of pertinent dialogues surrounding contemporary painting with specific personal experiences, memory, and the free-wheeling, cut-and-paste sensibility of a young artist who came of age visually during the 1980's and '90's. As such, the works tend to slip freely between genres, ultimately eluding easy classification.
Post-Toastie / Angle
Craig Kucia @ Shaheen Modern and Contemporary Art
Published in Issue #14 - June, 2004
By Douglas Max Utter
Daisies bloom, toadstools lurk in the shade, as if waiting for a smurf to sit on them; bees and butterflies flit like distant Martian invaders. A friendly pooch mounts a boulder, canaries and raccoons perch on branches, a rabbit browses in a pet store window-such is painter Craig Kucia's visual repertoire. Since Kucia has left the merely postmodern behind, let's just call the new genre post-toastie. It may reflect the Cleveland-born artist's suburban upbringing: an after-breakfast walk around any spring- time residential block provides real-life passages quite a lot like Kucia's. But blatant artificial and blithe washes of primary colors also quote a culture-wide sea of kitsch, from Disney to the no-brainer trompe l'oeil techniques of starving artists the world over. As in the work of current art-star painters like Laura Owens, subject matter and tole painting-like flourishes seem to sketch an updated, psychologically canny minimalism. Emptiness is sprinkled with ersatz experience: a palimpsest, through which we glimpse the ultimate empty canvas. Most of those fugitive splotches of paint dotting Kucia's renditions of space aren't bees or anything else, but simply blobs of stuff that question the nature of the painting they besmirch.
The painting Memory hurts when regret creeps up on you is the most complex of the Kucia works currently on view at Shaheen Modern and Contemporary Art. The title may be a canard-an exercise in deliberate misdirection, like the elements of the painting itself. But not necessarily. Memory itself is a construct, a best-guess combination of bioelectrical data. Kucia's process and imagery seem to parallel the peculiar physics of reverie. In Memory he depicts a boy in an aqua interior, near a large yellow window, staring at a rock-shaped object. Alizarin and cobalt passages suggest that this thing may not be stone, but its hard edges and smoothness sustain the first impression. Two lines of carpenter ants march up to and under it, across a deep blue table. A few green beans (or something) are scattered around.
But Kucia's aesthetic WMDs are located smack in the painting's mid-air section. A wasp or two speckles the area above the rock, and various other winged bugs, plus chunky falling petals and generally unidentifiable flotsam; contrasted with a pale blue wall, these seem suspended as if on the surface of a swimming pool. And it's disturbing, like a case of the DTs: something is very wrong here.
Kucia shows the boy in partial profile; his expression conveys nothing more than rapt attention-possibly not even that. The idea throughout the seven paintings in the show titled ...and no one had anything to say is to generate a sense that we're looking at snapshots from the campground of childhood recollection-and quietly blow it to hell. We have entered a world of faux narratives. As with the fragile illogic of a dream, Kucia's stories dissolve on close examination. If you want to make something out of his colors and textures, go right ahead. Otherwise, the story is a matter of compositional gambits and painterly tricks.
Like Dana Schutz, another now internationally known post-toastie seen last year at Shaheen's, Kucia is great with squiggly lines. In ...and in a flash we were all the same, for instance, strokes of dark gray or blue against a scrubbed light gray ground convey a tangle of electric wires. They connect to a welter of spotlights, which in turn illuminate a pink-eared bunny nosing around near a small mountain of woodchips. A carrot is balanced at an unlikely angle behind the rabbit. Then there's stuff that makes no obvious narrative sense: a fleshy red flower, geometric lines that describe part of a cube, a forked stick, and many tear-shaped blue lozenges. Possibly these last indicate the visual after-effects of a flash bulb. Surely it doesn't matter, if the main idea here is to provide points of entry to the artificiality of the constructed image. But the truly weird thing is, it's a good painting. It hangs together while making you wonder why that would be; it's pretty annoying (especially the titles), but visually persuasive- all hallmarks of cutting-edge work. Ultimately, Kucia tries to coax subject matter, subjective interpretation, and the raw elements of the painter's craft into a misty mid-region where neither presence nor absence can tell their lies with any conviction. Sometimes he makes it. And the squiggly lines are undeniably cool.
Craig Kucia / ...and no one had anything to say
Shaheen Modern and Contemporary Art, Cleveland
April 23-June 4, 2004
Visual Art : Dreams of Children : Craig Kucia's unsettling evocations of childhood
May 12, 2004
By Anastasia Pantsios
AN OBSESSION WITH CHILDHOOD'S HOLD on the psyche became an inescapable theme of popular music and the arts during the '90s, epitomized by the classic underwater infant on the cover of Nirvana's seminal 1991 CD, Nevermind . Twenty-eight-year-old Cleveland Institute of Art graduate Craig Kucia, who recently returned from spending a year studying in London, explores this terrain in seven large, gorgeous paintings, most done just this year, currently on display at the Shaheen Gallery.
These striking works contain reassuringly familiar elements in settings and combinations that render them mysterious, unsettling and even threatening. Kucia draws on memories of his own childhood, but the memories are skewed in peculiar, couldn't-have-happened ways that make them seem the product of dreams or the channeling of the unconscious, and hence, akin to surrealism. Each painting offers a sort of narrative, but it's a story that's ultimately inexplicable, and will probably have as many interpretations as viewers. The evocative titles offer another layer of mystery.
Kucia's somewhere only we know I am secretly falling apart shows a glade in a forest, the type of secret hideaway that was part of childhoods, a place to hide treasures and act out fantasies. But the treasures pictured here, nestled in vivid lime-green grass, are an assortment of odd-shaped, variously colored mushrooms, some gobbed so thickly they're three-dimensional. As in all his paintings, Kucia combines flat, artfully blended large color fields with smears and blobs of paint that jump off the canvas.
The contrast of the vivid mushrooms under a crisply painted tree dominating the foreground, with the misty, pale blue forest behind it, has an unreal aura in itself. But what adds a loopy narrative factor to the scene is a discarded pair of sneakers with a rainbow design on the side and a crumpled denim garment. They're extremely specific and, like many of the elements in Kucia's painting, they're falling out of the frame. This creates both the idea of the story's continuity beyond the painting and a sense that the real clue to unraveling it is just out of view.
That's also the dominant factor in the things you remember the most are the things you wish you could forget . On a large gray rock in front of a sweep of pale, pinkish sky sits a friendly, shaggy dog looking expectantly off to the left, his tongue hanging out. In front of the rock is a black-and-white cat, also looking off the left, but his fur is bristling and he is snarling in fear. A welter of brightly colored flowers at right and the pastel color of the sky add a sweet, benign feel that's at odds with the cat's demeanor. At left, just in the frame, is a sheet of lined notebook paper with two pink lipstick impressions. It's another invocation of childhood in a scene that feels both familiar and unfamiliar, like the parakeets in the exotic, tropical there are things better left unsaid , or the Easter Bunny in and in a flash we were all the same , surrounded by a welter of steely blue lamps with exposed bulbs, as if he's undergoing some sort of interrogation. Like all the paintings, this one is filled with plant and animal life and small objects floating across the canvas. One chunk of lavender and green suggests the frosting violets found on the sugar eggs grandmothers give you for Easter.
Possibly the most arresting and unfathomable painting is when a thousand miles wasn't very far . A deep blue night sky cradles a pale pink moon that sheds light on a series of branches that sweep vertically across the canvas. A gaggle of raccoons sits on the branch, mostly facing away from the viewer, staring into the void. Again, there's something that makes the scene stranger than it already is: at the bottom, jutting into the frame from the right, a utilitarian work light floods a yellow beam onto a spider web in which an orange spider guards a cell phone. That clearly suggests a message about communication, separation and loneliness, but it's impossibly unclear what that message is.
The hyper-realistic raccoons - their almost tangibly soft fur brushed with pink and gold moonlight - like the house pets and the bunny and the parakeets in their vividly painted settings, could have been kitschy and sentimental in lesser hands. But Kucia's skill, deft arrangements, and the way he constructs visual narratives that communicate emotions, if not clear meanings, put his work at a much higher level.
somewhere only we know I am secretly falling apart, 2004
oil on canvas
78 x 84 inches
and in a flash we were all the same, 2004
oil on canvas
48 x 48 inches
memory hurts when regret creeps up on you, 2004
oil on canvas
48 x 48 inches
when a thousand miles wasn't very far, 2004
oil on canvas
72 x 72 inches
the things you remember the most are the things you wish you could forget, 2004
oil on canvas
60 x 60 inches