Essays & Reviews

The “Unsolicited Images” of Katharine Kuharic

The work of Katharine Kuharic is a fastidiously executed pictorial indictment of contemporary American society. Through sheer dynamism and unadulterated gumption, it skewers the banality of our era. The commercial images that inspire Kuharic’s almost psychedelically kaleidoscopic painted collages of pinwheels of processed hamburger meat and arabesques of submarine sandwiches arrive as unsolicited mailings to her door: Flyers, catalogues, and newspapers are transformed by the artist through a complex process of appropriation and reinvention. Harking back to the laborious techniques of the Renaissance workshop, Kuharic gingerly cuts out these manifestations of American excess and consumerism, manipulating the decontexualized forms into brilliantly polychromatic collages of bold, saturated colors that are later, through a combination of tracing and freehand drawing, transferred onto the canvas, where a new process of meticulous underpainting and the slow building up of color imbue these clichéd images of American life with new meaning. Captivating and unnerving, beautiful and subversive, the work of Kuharic is an assertive, uncompromising look at the underbelly of excess.

— Gordon Dearborn Wilkins