The works of Kurt Kauper (b. 1966, USA) mostly constitutes of portraits of familiar cultural icons, such as opera divas, hockey players, and presidents, seen in a variety of unfamiliar ways. Kauper employs an astonishing technique, combining his reverence for the old masters with a contemporary subject matter. His work layers historical and contemporary traditions, incorporating both elevated and vernacular subject matter. He subverts his seemingly academic style with a radical, but subtle vanguard sensibility. The effect of his paintings is uncanny. They hover in an indeterminate state between reality and artifice. An uneasy balance between opposing concepts: real and unreal, representation and abstraction, and most interestingly, avant-garde and kitsch. Kauper’s characteristic style shows his unique and original approach to painting.