UO arts professor Kartz Ucci leaves artwork and a song with her passing

Ucci joined the UO faculty in 2004 and taught art and digital arts.
Ucci joined the UO faculty in 2004 and taught art and digital arts.

Kartz Ucci, associate professor of digital arts for the University of Oregon Department of Art, died Oct. 6 of cancer. She was 52 years of age.

Ucci joined the UO faculty in 2004 and taught art and digital arts, concentrating on contemporary art practice, time-based media and interactive installations.

She recently completed her final installation work, “256 Shades of Grey,” a temporary sound and light piece that was to be projected into, onto and through the desert Oct. 12 in Joshua Tree, California, on the opening night of High Desert Test Sites 2013. The HDTS project featured a weeklong series of experimental art and exploration from Joshua Tree to Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The piece involves a video projection of gray scales in shifting horizontal bars that Ucci created using highly personal algorithms. It was accompanied with a sing-along of Jerry Garcia’s and Robert Hunter’s Grateful Dead song, “Touch of Grey.”

According to her collaborator, Abby Donovan, Kartz said she chose the song very specifically for the line “I/We will survive … and for its relationship to my current path in life and for its historic attachment to my life in Eugene.”

After joining the UO faculty, Ucci held an ambitious exhibition schedule while teaching the time-based media courses. Her courses included video art, issues and practices, introductory core studios, experimental film, cinema effects, time-based digital arts and professional practices. She received tenure in 2010.

Ucci’s work was included in the Portland Biennial in 2010, and exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in California, Oregon, Washington, and Toronto, Ontario, Canada. At the UO, her work became a multidisciplinary practice informed by language and philosophy.

She received undergraduate and master’s degrees in fine arts from York University in Toronto.

- from a story by the UO Department of Art