Kate can be reached at kkretz4art (at) aol.com, or (336) 266-9678. You can follow her on Facebook, Instagram at katekretzartist, or Twitter at kkretz4art. Her LinkedIn profile includes many written recommendations from lifelong colleagues. The archive of Kate's blog documents the step-by-step creation of older work, but, since 2009, it has been used primarily for announcements and occasional essays on topics relevant to her work. You can help Kate continue to speak truth to power by supporting her on Patreon.
Kate is represented by Jen Tough Gallery in Benicia, CA.
Kate Kretz grew up in upstate NY, the oldest of five children. Her father, a high school French & Latin teacher, took a sabbatical with his family of six to live in France for a year when Kate was 9, where she attended French public school. At 18, Kate went back to Paris with $200 in her pocket. She drew plaster casts in a non-credit École Des Beaux Arts class and earned a Cours De La Civilization Française certificate at The Sorbonne while working as an au pair for a prominent French family. Returning to the states, she put herself through school, earning a BFA at the State University of New York at Binghamton (SUNY Foundation Award for Excellence in the Fine Arts, Harpur College Departmental Honors in Art, and Harpur College Academic Honors) while working as a picture framer. After a few years as an Art Director, she earned an MFA from the University of Georgia, where she received both University-wide & Departmental Teaching Assistantships.
Kretz was trained as a painter, but creates across disciplines, choosing the most potent medium for each project. Recent work includes human hair embroideries, dense, bas-relief cotton floss embroideries, highly wrought oil and acrylic paintings, pyrography (wood burning) and tiny silverpoint drawings on found silver objects. She is generally focused on creating time-intensive, intricate work telling difficult truths. Her 2012 solo exhibition, This Sharp World, at Hardcore Art Contemporary Space in Miami, was reviewed in The Huffington Post, El Nuevo Herald, Art Districts magazine, and was Elisa Turner's "Critic's Pick for the Summer of 2012" on ArtCircuits.com, and Desirée Almodovar's "Editor's Pick" for Flavorpill.com. Presently, Kate is deeply engaged in an expansive ongoing project, "#bullyculture". The work-to-date was exhibited at York College in PA, with an accompanying 62 page catalog (online version here) and a review at Delicious Line here. This challenging series was shown, with additional new work, at Coastal Carolina University in Fall of 2018, and is seeking additional venues as it continues to grow.
Kretz’s work has appeared in over 95 international newspapers and has been featured repeatedly in the New York Times, The Washington Post, The Miami Herald, The Huffington Post, The Atlanta Journal/Constitution, ArtPapers, and Surface Design, as well as appearing in Esquire, Vanity Fair Italy, ELLE Japon, and PASAJES DISENO magazines. Her controversial painting, “Blessed Art Thou”, was covered by hundreds of international news sources, and continues to be published in magazines and university textbooks worldwide, almost a decade later. (A full list is here.)
Exhibitions include the Museum of Arts & Design in NYC, Van Gijn Museum, Kunstraum Kreuzberg, Academy of Arts & Design at Tsinghua University in Beijing, Racine Museum, Wignall Museum, Katonah Museum, Frost Art Museum, Fort Collins MOCA, Telfair Museum, Fort Lauderdale Museum, the Museo Medici, San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles, as well as Lyons Wier Ortt & 31Grand Gallery in NY, Chelsea Galleria and Hardcore Art Contemporary Space in Miami, and Packer/Schopf in Chicago.
Kate is on the Fulbright Specialist Roster through 2021. She has received the MD Council For The Arts Grant (in 2015 & 2017 for crafts, and 2018 for painting), The NC Arts Council Grant, The South Florida Cultural Consortium Fellowship, The Florida Visual Arts Fellowship, a Millay Colony Residency, a Hambidge Center Fellowship, the Southeastern College Art Conference's 2016 award for Outstanding Artistic Achievement, and was a 2013 Trawick Prize Finalist. After working as an Associate Professor and BFA Director at Florida International University for ten years, she now works in her studio and teaches part time, while giving workshops and lectures at various universities. She is a frequent contributor to Hyperallergic and Medium, and is currently at work on a book, a step-by-step guide to finding visual voice.
“I often experience news stories of inhumanity as a literal blow to my body, and carry the negative energy around with me until I process a way to remove it from my person through transformative creation. My work functions as a meditation, a healing prayer, a potent incantation to embed the finished object with as much power as possible, to rival the impact of that original negative impetus for making it. I am aiming for a beautiful, exquisitely-crafted gut punch.
I consider the inordinate amount of time invested in each piece as a gift given to the viewer. In this day and age, it often feels as though the earnest, cathectic things I make are an act of profound resistance: I give birth to the tactile as I am swallowed by the virtual. I obsess over craft as our world becomes disposable. I wield emotion in its messiness because it’s uncool. I work until my hands shake, because the world does not care.
I am banging my head against the wall, but the stain is beautiful.” i