Keith Kaziak mines ephemera and vernacular of the human condition to discover the thingness of objects and materials. Ostensibly mundane items— from Oreos to Wonder bread, cinder blocks and cardboard boxes—are rendered unfamiliar as they become stand-ins, evoking a sense of comfort and agitation. The mundane becomes both menacing and magical as each uncanny instance reshapes the object and estranges our perceptions through an unfamiliar lens. Kaziak conjures object and material associations rich in consumer culture and art historical references that recall a surrealistic tableau and 21st century vanitas-esque landscape revealing our precarious nature and relationship towards the world. Through alchemy, his imposters often contrast with farcical inuendo relating to conversations concerning consumption, the environment, and labor.
Keith Kaziak (b. 1980) lives and works in Madison, WI. Recent solo exhibitions include Rule No. 8: Don’t Look Down! at Backspace Gallery, Madison, WI (2022), Turn on the News at Quad City Art Center, Rock Island, IL (2021), Against the Wall at Backspace Gallery, Madison, WI (2021), and Welcome to Bliss Point at the Phipps Center for the Arts, Hudson, WI and the Trout Museum of Art, Appleton, WI (both 2019). Group exhibitions include the Trout Museum of Art, Appleton, WI (2022, 2021, 2019), Koehnline Museum of Art, Des Plaines, IL (2022), Creative Cube, Milwaukee, WI (2021), Valade Family Gallery, Detroit, MI (2021), Real Tinsel Gallery, Milwaukee, WI (2020), Quarter Gallery, Minneapolis, MN (2019), CICA, South Korea (2019), DeVos Art Museum, Marquette, MI (2018), and Ground Floor Contemporary, Birmingham, AL (2017). He was a UW-Madison 2019-2022 Interdisciplinary Artist Research Cohort Fellow, a 2022 US Fulbright semi-finalist, and 2021 recipient of the International Sculpture Center’s Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award. Kaziak received an MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2022 and a BFA from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in 2004.