Karen Kunc is a Professor Emeritus at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she was a Professor of Art and held the Willa Cather chair. She completed her undergraduate work there as well, followed by a Master’s of Fine Arts at Ohio State.
Kunc’s work is concerned with forming a response to living in and conceptualizing natural and human processes that affect environment, that contrast ways and means, and outcomes for life. She observes and responds to visual sensations of iconic sources—gridiron scaffolding, repetition of window frames, decaying fragments; she conceptualizes patterns—of channels and pathways as flowing movement or pulsing energy; sounds evoke concentric rings suggestive of rhythmic growth or expansion; aerial perspectives offer viewpoints of suburban sprawl and mining wastelands. She considers the imbalances of architecture over nature, of human efforts related in scale to mountain ranges. Kunc’s images are comparative metaphors, as she finds beauty and strangeness in equal measure, as poignantly meaningful concepts on dwelling, gathering, cultivation, networks, encroachments. Her overarching question—on how things come about—is envisioned here as the natural and unnatural order of things.
Kunc has had more than 120 solo shows at at an extraordinary range of galleries and universities worldwide, from Asheville to Athens, from Charlottesville to Chicago, from Kansas City to Crete, from Serbia to San Francisco, from Philadelphia to Florence, from Nagoya to New York, from Warsaw to Washington DC, from Seoul to Seattle. She has had many dozens of prestigious awards, grants, and commissions and her work can be found in many public collections, including prestigious collections such as Harvard University’s Fogg Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Boston Public Library, the Getty Museum, the Library of Congress, the Museum of Modern Art, the Victoria and Albert, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the New York Public Library, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Pratt Graphics Center, the RISD Library, and many, many others.