Caitlin Karolczak (1984-) was born on Minnesota’s Iron Range. She received a BFA in Fine Arts and BA in Art History at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (2005). She resides in Minneapolis working as a professional artist and co-gallery owner of Spinario Design, a mid-century design and fine art gallery. There she handles original artworks as diverse as 15th century engravings to paintings by Ray Parker, Zao Wou Ki, and Otto Dix. Her exposure to this unpredictable array of works has given her a broader understanding of art that enriches her own.
I explore subjects connected to the fragility of the human mind and body. The environments and situations that I paint are often contemporary reinterpretations of classical painting themes. My source material sometimes comes from my collection of vintage medical photographs, images that blur the line between artistic portraiture and scientific illustration. In many cases, photographers deliberately and artfully arranged their subjects although their stated purpose was documenting debilitating or disconcerting medical conditions. I wrestle with this intersection of beauty and distress. As I reinvent the likeness of an individual, I give them authority from what was originally a position of vulnerability. My aim is to confront the viewer with sensations of the unconventional “other” and of human commonality.
Incorporating painting techniques from eras classical and modern, I intertwine detailed renderings of the figure with abstract backgrounds and other representational details. I often use vintage and recycled material, from antique textiles and paper to vials of powdered pigments and oils. Together with my incorporation of historical painting techniques and themes, the past lives of these materials offer ways to connect the past and the present.