Tony Kukich (Saint Paul, MN) creates paintings as well as both sculptural and functional ceramics. His current focus is on seemingly incompatible and discordant ideas that can exist simultaneously within the same person, balance and instability, worthlessness and preciousness, comfort and anxiety, knowledge and ignorance, etcetera. His most recent sculptural work began as reflections on illness and its ability to permeate and inexorably alter and shape the lives of both the individual and their loved ones. Having long made a conscious effort to avoid and compartmentalize his own experience living with and observing his partner’s long term illness, he decided that there was beauty to be found in the experience and this conversation in his work has continued to evolve with each piece steering the next transitioning over time from addressing specific and individual episodes to the greater arc of the experience and changes it brings to life.
Kukich received his BFA in ceramics and drawing from Bemidji State University (MN) in 1984 and his MFA in ceramics from Indiana University Bloomington in 1988. Throughout his career, Kukich has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors including Friends of Art Fellowship facilitated by Indiana University Bloomington in 1985, the National Society of Art and Letters Career Award in 1988, Grand Prize at Art in the Park (Bemidji, MN) in 1991, and Honorable Mention at the Minnesota State Fair Fine Arts Competition (Saint Paul) in 2019. Throughout his career as a maker, Kukich has held academic postings at several universities and institutions throughout the Midwest including Indiana University Bloomington, Interlochen Center for the Arts (Interlochen, MI), IU Herron School of Art and Design (Indianapolis, IN), Bemidji State University, Inver Hills Community College (Inver Grove Heights, MN), and Normandale Community College (Bloomington, MN).
Kukich’s work has been on exhibition in both group and solo exhibitions at venues across the country and around the world, including Lillstreet Art Center (Chicago, IL), Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, American Craft Museum (New York, NY), Everson Museum of Art (Syracuse, NY), Minneapolis Institute of Art (MN), Bingham Gallery (Columbia, MO), Saltstone Ceramics (Seattle, WA), Clay Center of New Orleans (LA), and the University Southern Mississippi (Hattiesburg).