Seneca Kuchar is a painter from rural Michigan who creates depictions of classic cars and car parts sourced from automotive diagrams. Classic cars are collected and in their collection they serve as ruins and souvenirs of a tired, yet persistent American identity developed at the height of modernity. They signify desire for an idealized past at odds with the realities of our late-capitalist post-industrial society. Seneca’s work uses paradoxical combinations of materials, mark making, and aspects of American culture in order to undermine the nostalgia that festers in the gap between the fetishized object and its original context. The paint animates and aestheticizes the sterile diagram, not to perpetuate the reverie of the object but to place it somewhere else. It celebrates the ingenuity of automobiles; the workers who make and fix them; and the culture they belong to. The diagram is a reminder of the vehicle’s utility does not completely eradicate the nostalgia surrounding it; these values can happily coexist.
Seneca earned a BFA in drawing and painting in 2021 from the Cleveland Institute of Art. She has exhibited her work in multiple group shows including the Waterloo Juried Show (2021), the Michigan Fine Arts Competition (2021), and the Student Independent Exhibition 74 (2020). Her honors include the Kelly Druger Award for Excellence in Painting (2020), the Joseph McCullough ‘48 Scholarship (2019) for painting, and the Cleveland Institute of Art’s Gund Family Scholarship (2017). Seneca also won second place in Easten Michigan Universities Fresh Looks 2021 Exhibition (2021) and 3rd in the Waterloo Juried Show (2021). Over the summer of 2019 she had an internship at the Cleveland Museum of Art through the Gund Studio’s Arts Intern program. She is currently working at SPACES and The Morgan Art of Papermaking Conservatory and Educational Foundation in Cleveland.