Primates and Confections | New Times Broward-Palm Beach

Primates and Confections

It’s an interesting endeavor, trying to interpret Craig Kucia’s painting “when i begin to forget, tell me things i never knew.” A good place to start searching for answers might be the giant, faceless orangutan eating chocolate chip cookies under the glittering flash of a disco ball. Or maybe truth lies in the pink parrot and large-billed macaw patiently waiting for the primate to drop a few crumbs?

Don’t be confused: Kucia’s not trying to be obscure, nor is he being wacky just for the hell of it. No, this Cleveland-born artist says he tries to keep his work intriguing and open-ended without being esoteric. That way, he says, his viewers come up with their own fantastic interpretations – even if his original meanings are rooted deep in reality. “I find it amazing how people connect to the paintings in ways that I hadn’t intended at all,” he explains from his Miami home. “There are often multiple ideas within one image, and their connection is sometimes more obvious than people think.”

Kucia, 31, started painting back in high school when he was a skateboard punk. After five years at the Cleveland Institute of Art, his enigmatic pieces – oil on canvas, with a photographic, montage-like edge – drew interest from the art community. He traveled to London and Miami to paint and ended up showing at Art Basel in 2003 and at Miami’s Kevin Bruk Gallery, but his pieces have always been a bit hard to track down – until now. His latest collection, “many sundays were spent talking of rockets,” brings years’ worth of work together at the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood (1650 Harrison St., Hollywood). Admission ranges $3 to $6. Call 954-921-3274, or visit
Sept. 24-Dec. 16, 2007