Karen Kunc’s prints and artists books stem from her contemplation of the forces of the natural world, ephemeral encounters and the immeasurability of time and distance. Her unique style of printing records the process of destruction and creation inherent in reduction woodcut, and as an artist she takes on an omniscient role as evolutionary choices move toward the resolution of her images.
Karen Kunc was born in Omaha, Nebraska. She received her BFA from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1975, and her MFA from Ohio State University in 1977. She is the Cather Professor of Art at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Her works have been shown in exhibitions nationally and internationally: The National Academy Museum, NY; Sheldon Museum of Art; Davidson Galleries, Seattle; Krakow Print Triennial, Poland; Excellence, Chamalieries, France; Invisible Cities, Ca’ Zenobio, Venice, Italy; Galerija Art 55, Nis, Serbia; Highpoint Center for Printmaking, Minneapolis; ARTag Gallery, Helsinki, Finland. Her prints and artists books are in numerous public collections: Museum of Modern Art, NY; the Library of Congress; New York Public Library; Stanford University; Milwaukee Art Museum; Haas Arts Library Yale University; Jyväskylä Art Museum, Finland; Huntington Museum, WV; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington DC; Zimmerlie Art Museum Rutgers University; Cleveland Museum of Art; Honolulu Museum of Art; Joslyn Art Museum. She has taught workshops around the world, in Egypt, Italy, Finland, Poland, Japan, France, Mexico, Iceland, Bangladesh, Spain; and she has lectured as a visiting artist to over 200 institutions, including: University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, University of Tennessee, University of Georgia, Cornell University, American University Cairo, Academy of Art Helsinki Finland, University of Virginia, Kyoto Seika University Japan.
She is the director/owner of Constellation Studios, Lincoln, Nebraska, a creative work-site for print, paper, and book, inviting artists for residencies, workshops, print publishing and project collaborations.
"My approach to making woodcut prints is an evolutionary process that mirrors such processes in nature and through our own effects. I recognize human and natural destruction and benevolence as abstract symbols, especially in our time of climate change with unknown consequences. There is a poignancy to these landscapes of newly vulnerable, or toxic, evolving worlds of microbes, seedlings, corals, gaseous pools and clouds, distended yet elegant flora - the sweep of such imaginary places - that are discovered in my studio investigations.
My color reduction woodcut prints are on handmade Japanese paper, with diaphanous color passages contrasting with dense layers of rich texture and spatial illusions. The carving marks give energy to growth patterns of exotic flora or fauna, while openness creates echoes of sound and breath. All suggest an immersive display that could be invasive or native, set in a rich ‘scape of density and voids, movement and stillness."