Karen Kunc, “Aqua Alta”



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Artist: Karen Kunc (Avoca, NE)

Title: Aqua Alta (2011)

Medium/technique(s): woodcut, mokuhanga woodcut, mixed media

Edition size: 5

Number of pages: 12 (front and back)

Dimensions, open: 19.25″ x 38″ in

Dimensions, closed: 19.25″ x 18.75″ in


Artist Statement:

My idiosyncratic language of biomorphic abstraction inevitably refers to the natural world, our precious resources, and the powerful forces that shape our environment. I hope to make conceptually urgent statements that are relevant, visually memorable images as a response to the threat and benevolence of Nature and of human impact.

My works are a reflection on immensities, methodical impulses, distance and depth, wandering into meanings of vulnerability, toxicity, and precarious balances. I focus on generating awareness of edgy natural order and the disasters we know of, or can imagine, in this critical time. My response is both intensely chromatic and gestural, generating a poetic tracking of observation and science through images and information that submerge, emerge, and tantalize, as graphically symbolized matter of the physical world and quasi-science principles.   I intend to evoke the timeless sense of life’s ebb and flow, for a “sense of place” in our universe and in being.

I am an artist who has found books to be a “fertile format”. I use many book-making methods, some learned at workshops, other methods developed on my own or adapted.  I often follow principles that recognize possibilities for display of the work, self-publication abilities, plus knowledge of book and print technological problems.

I am an advocate for the “experiential nature” of artist’s books — that one experiences the work on many sensual and spatial levels.

Among the many reasons I make books is the recognition of the tactile qualities of work made for the hand, the control of pacing and the “reading/viewing” as an experience, an interest in story-telling, and strong, important historical and cultural associations.

For me, there is a love of materials as I make my book objects — an awareness of paper, ink, proportion, color, relationships, finish, detail, all parts to the whole, with evidence of craftsmanship; I am making an aesthetic object, even a beautiful one, as a carrier of important ideas.