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Commando Martyr, 2008 Mixed Media And Watercolor On Paper 8.5" X 11" © by Rafal Karcz, Iao: ABC
Various/Similar Similar/Various
Curated by: Albert Wang

275 South 200 West
Salt Lake City, UT 84101
January 1st, 2009 - January 31st, 2009
Opening: January 1st, 2009 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

United States
(801) 755-4659
Monday-Thursday: 11 am-10:30 pm; Friday-Saturday: 11 am-midnight or so; Sunday: 11am-9pm
mixed-media, photography, conceptual, landscape, figurative, modern, traditional


January 4, 2009

Iao: Acme Burger Company
275 SOUTH 200 WEST
T. 801.257.5700

Various/Similar Similar/Various
Rafal Karcz
January 1, 2009 - January 31, 2009

The Iao: Acme Burger Company gallery is proud to present the experimental mixed media watercolors from Polish artist Rafal Karcz. Within his multiple series of small-scale paintings, the artist examines and critiques historical truth, cultural trends particularly among the youth, and battling control/chaos within the medium of watercolors, which he uses to violate traditional assumption about what the craft can do within the viewer’s expectations.

Examples of source imagery which Karcz range from photo still taken from the anarchy/punk movement supposedly from Europe to mug shots taken of the co-directors of Phillips Gallery in downtown Salt Lake City to a still of the kidnapped Hanns-Martin Schleyer by the infamous Baader-Meinhof terrorists. Whether the original source is an appropriated press photographs from the annals of history or possibly personal snapshots from the artist’s own camera, Karcz’s magical ability to render his subjects with a loose discipline manifests a strong command of his merging of conceptual idea with a well-crafted draftsmanship that shows within each work.

Inspired by the Czech New Wave film stills, Karcz acknowledges each segment of the subculture he researches thoroughly like a visual sociologist. For example, within his work “Commando Martyr,” the artist depicts the fallen figure as the symbolic figurehead for a dying form of capitalism interwoven with the checkered past of Nazism. With merciless brushstrokes and splotches, the ascendancy of the red star in the background suggests that the turmoil of the conflict between extreme left-wing fanatics and the conservative, controlling conformists would reappear in various forms in the trends of history, whether it be the punk against yuppie or the fashionable jet-set against the impoverished folks.

Even though conflict lies at the heart of the overall works, Karcz is not simply a documentary scriptwriter. He becomes a consummate alchemist of the brush. With nearly flawless command, the artist is able to elicit impressionistic details with blurred outlines like dredged-up memories from the waste bin of alternative storytelling. Through fearless depiction of his characters, the artist’s compassion in examining the overall tenor of social movements ranging from the art gallery world to the ecstasy-using clubbers reflects a genuine concern for an attempt to figure out how different types of people interact with one another rather than falling back on the stereotypes that cultural media is dependent on for its ideas. This form of visual anthropology becomes an atlas/encyclopedia for one man’s understanding of the whole typology of humanity like the way that August Sander reflected upon his society during the twentieth century.

A series of mixed media works becomes an essay, an individual entry within the complete atlas of Karcz’s overall ambitious book of artwork in totality. This becomes a more painterly counterpart to Richter’s photographic atlas culled over the decades.

Rafal Piotr Karcz was born in 1969 in Krakow. The artist graduated from the art history department of the Jagiellonian University in Krakow in 1996 and the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow, the Faculty of Industrial Design in 1999. He works as a painter and a photographer who experiments with various medias and techniques while experimenting with many techniques. He belongs to the Polish and American Societies of Pastelists. This year he received a reward during the 3rd Biennial of Pastels in Nowy Sacz. He had some individual exhibitions in Poland including Warsaw and Krakow as well as Germany at venues such as Galerie Pierogi and Galerie Born / Busse in Leipzig. While working on longer series, he exposes a chosen motive or object and uses watercolor and mixed media on many types of paper. Currently he is represented by Iao PROJECTS Flatfiles. “Various/Similar Similar/Various” is his first solo show in Salt Lake City, Utah.

In conjunction with the solo show, Iao: ABC is continuing to feature a long-term untitled group exhibition that includes selected artists such as Randee Silv, Eric Osborne, Jo Tuck, Matt Glass, Jeff Faerber, Barry Wolfryd, Mason Fetzer, qi peng, Circlegal, and Emilia Dubicki. This show will portray a wide range of media from figurative outsider art to graffiti-style stencils on layered Plexiglass to mixed-media watercolors on paper. The revolving group show will showcase international artists who are represented by Iao PROJECTS or Iao: ABC.

For more information about inventory or purchasing artwork at Iao: Acme Burger Company, please contact Alan Ireland or the gallery at (801) 257-5700 or For more background information about the artist or Iao PROJECTS, please contact Albert Wang at (801) 879-1971 or