Installation artist and popular professor Kartz Ucci passed away Sunday, ending a recent battle with brain cancer. Kartz, wasn't a household name but she was one of the State of Oregon's most influential experiential artists... often using light and space
, or the sensuous roll of words made sublime with form and color
Ucci at the Archer Gallery January 2011
I remember fondly every long conversation we had about Neruda or the way artists approach form differently in places like China. She wasn't some guarded regionalist and her overall level of "questioning sass" made her such challenging fun to be around. It showed in her work...
She never constrained the conversation, instead she opened up possibilities with her infectious, sometimes irreverent attitude that defied the idea of milquetoast with a single good question and a sparkle in her eye as she asked it. Overall, her mere presence made the state safer for this type of new media art (which seems to be prosecuted against by those who fetish the handmade and obvious effort to the determent of experience and concept).
But perhaps her greatest legacy was as the heart and soul of the University of Orgeon's art program. In many ways she was their "rockstar" professor, the one unafraid to stand out. My sense was that she was by far the U of O's student's most popular prof. Standout students like Paula Rebsom
and Jenene Nagy (among hundreds of others) carry on her influence, which will be missed...
Her final work, 256 shades of Grey will open this weekend in California
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