Craig Kucia’s practice is rooted in dichotomies; at once one can see Kucia’s Cleveland, Ohio upbringing and his art historical training. The synthesis of these two disparate worlds leads to single compositions simultaneously referencing 1980’s Americana skateboard culture, Philip Guston, and everything in between.
Unnatural Disasters is also an investigation by Kucia into his life and artistic training in a preinternet world, fused with the modern digital age and its imposed visual vernacular. This exhibition illustrates what scientist and eminent psychologist Carl R. Rogers stated in his understanding of humanity, “What is most personal is most universal. ” Idiosyncratic combinations of cultures and eras distinct to the artist allow for a layered experience with the works through the individual lens of any viewer.
Using a variety of techniques, Kucia creates paintings that often read as storied landscapes through the use of negative space. But, even the negative space references a specific wallpaper from his childhood or a Mondrian geometric work. It is not enough to take the standard 30 second painting viewing time for a work by Kucia as the intricate compositions are so layered in meaning, both intended by the artist, and injected by the viewer. He seeks to make the viewer slightly uncomfortable as they search their memories to identify how they know a particular image or movie subtly referenced in the painting.