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 essays on topics relevant to her work. Curators, writers, collectors, and gallerists may email kkretz4art (at) aol.com for password access to an ever-evolving private gallery of in-progress work.
Kate Kretz grew up in upstate NY. Her father, a high school French & Latin teacher, took the 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, 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, and an MFA from the University of Georgia.
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, obsessive, bas-relief cotton floss embroideries, acrylic paintings on black cotton velvet, highly wrought oil and acrylic paintings and tiny silverpoint drawings on found silver objects. Generally focused on creating time-intensive work telling difficult truths, recent series have addressed vulnerabilities of motherhood, and familial dysfunctionality. 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 project that will be completed in late 2016 / early 2017.
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, 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, 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 currently works in her studio while giving workshops and lectures at various universities. She 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.”