The 2016 Emma Hack Art Prize winner, Kate Kurucz, has received a number of accolades since graduating with honours from the Adelaide Central School of Art in 2012, and she is one of the artists selected for the 2016 Guildhouse Collections Project at the Art Gallery of South Australia (AGSA).
While Kurucz experimented with other media at art school, it was painting that felt most natural. “All the works are about a subject or exploring a particular idea but they are also exploring painting – the process of painting and the joy of painting is as much a part of the practice as anything else,” Kurucz says. Kurucz is exploring notions of excess and indulgence, and most recently she has been delving into the sublime. “It’s the traditional idea of the sublime being like a storm at sea or a mountain range – something that’s removed from just being beautiful because it’s mixed with terror,” she says. “It’s not just beautiful to look at it also is slightly overwhelming, you have that sense of awe that comes from looking at it.”
Kate Kurucz, Uncirculated
Kurucz’s practice consists of composite images (where she combines stock images from the internet, photographs she has taken and imagined aspects) to create new spaces that don’t otherwise exist. The works are not meant to make total sense. “It’s okay if there is a bit of discomfort with it and it doesn’t quite match up, or the angle is a bit off, or the scale is a bit strange, I want it to be obviously pastiched,” she says. For her most recent works on display at AGSA, Kurucz delved into the Gallery’s collection and used a 1930s penny as inspiration to create two new works. In one of the works, Uncirculated, the penny has been distorted using the anamorphic technique. This is when the image is extremely elongated from a particular perspective and you have to move your eye line so it reforms into the proper object.
Kate Kurucz, The Island
It’s the feeling of discovery that Kurucz is trying to capture using the technique. “The idea is that people will look at it and it will recreate the sensation I had when I first saw the coin, that sense of discovery,” Kurucz says. “Even though it’s the same for everyone, when you make it happen it’s only existing for you in your eye at that moment.” The Island is a more personal response. Kurucz created a model of an island which was the basis for the painting. The Island includes the head of a doll her grandma gave her along with hidden treasures such as pearls in trees. “I have included things that people can discover on the island, small things, so it’s like a treasure hunt for people to look around the island.” The opportunity to spend three months exploring AGSA’s collection has had a lasting impression on Kurucz. “It was a great experience. It has informed what I want to keep doing, this idea of created spaces. It was really fun to make a little island. It was good for this project and I think it’s something I will keep doing.” Kate Kurucz The Collections Project Art Gallery of South Australia Until Sunday, September 4 Kate Kurucz in conversation with Leigh Robb Curator of Contemporary Art, Art Gallery of South Australia The Vestibule, Art Gallery of South Australia 12.30pm Tuesday, July 12 artgallery.sa.gov.au katekurucz.com