The beauty of Karolina Karlic's work is that you might have a little trouble differentiating photos of a dirty child in Detroit from a dirty child in Ukraine. Her nationally exhibited series "The Dee" was a study of Detroit, the city she grew up in after emigrating with her family from Poland. Through images of crumbling buildings and candid portraits of often sad-looking citizens, Karlic captured a large part of the urban culture that was once foreign to her. In her most recent exhibit, "Close to Home," Karlic follows a similar strategy in showing Ukraine, a country that has changed drastically through Soviet times, Stalinism, and most recently the Orange Revolution of 2004 and 2005 that restored democratic rule to the country. Karlic's photos show Ukraine as a nation with rich culture that is starting to overshadow its haunting Soviet history. Her photos inspire hope in bleak conditions: a colorful teacup, a woman posing with a cat, a girl clutching a beloved doll. But she doesn't shy away from the abandoned buildings and slum conditions, either. The result is an utterly honest look at the current condition of Ukraine through the eyes of an artist returning to her home continent and seeing it through a Western lens.
Feb. 1-March 29, 2008