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Meet Pauline Kochanski

Today we’d like to introduce you to Pauline Kochanski.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
Of great interest to me, as a student and beyond, has always been art (study and making) and history. One is my heart & spirit, the other my mind & politics. I studied many avenues of art making and finally decided to focus on photography, receiving my undergraduate degree from Columbia College Chicago. While working in the commercial industry for many years, I continued with photography, drawing, and ceramics. My master’s degree from DePaul University in Chicago included a paper and an art exhibition, based on sacred landscapes. With the dawn of digital photography and phones with good lenses, I decided to move back to drawing. A few drawing classes later, and taking a critique workshop with Sara Krepp, I was working on my ideas and following my spirit to draw every day. When my husband died earlier this year, I was working on drawings of stones and planning an exhibition for the summer. Ceramics came back into my life at that point and I showed ceramics and drawings in an exhibition dedicated to him. The sacred means different thing to all of us and my work continues to carry a sacred that is important to me.

Please tell us about your art.
Currently, my work consists of drawings in color pencil, graphite, and ink on paper and vellum along with the ceramics. A few years ago, as my mother’s health was failing, my thoughts when to the life she and my father had as Holocaust survivors. I wanted to do something with stones, bones and barbed wire to honor them and others that were lost to war, whose bodies were never found. The stone drawings were produced on Stonehenge paper while the vellum sheets had ink drawings of stones, bones and barbed wire. As I was working on these drawings, I showed one to my mother who said, “These remind me of the stones we had to carry.” I knew I was on the right track. The exhibition that comes out of this, “The Past is Still With Us,” included an installation of drawings, with a table and drawing enclosed by a curtain and four walls in a small room, barbed wire, and drawings outside of the room. A video about this exhibition was produced because I wanted visitors to be interviewed on how space made them feel.

Continuing to draw, I met a gallery owner that loved my work and wanted to show it. This summer 2018 exhibition is about stones and broken bowls. There are breaks and cracks in my ceramics. After firing and glazing the cracks and the breaks are finished with gold leaf, to accent how cracks and breaks allow light into the darkness. I am focusing on the cracks and cracked patterns in drawings and ceramics.

What do you think about the conditions for artists today? Has life become easier or harder for artists in recent years? What can cities like ours do to encourage and help art and artists thrive?
Getting art into the public eye is never easy. We either need to add publicity to our schedule or find someone to do it for us. Public art is a great way to support artists in the community.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
You can see my work at, Oliva Gallery and ARC Gallery and Educational Foundation.

Support comes from attending exhibitions and of course buying work or commissioning a piece.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Images of me by Sean Culver, photos of art made by Paul Lane

Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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