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Kretz attended the Sorbonne in Paris, and obtained a BFA in drawing and painting from Binghamton University, and was accepted into the Hoffberger School of Painting, but attended and earned an MFA from the University of Georgia in Athens, GA.
Her painting is influenced by imagery of Catholicism and Technicolor films. She has created drawings in various media (including silverpoint), paintings, embroideries done with human hair, and a series of Psychological Clothing.
Kretz' painting, "Blessed Art Thou", executed in 2006, depicted actress Angelina Jolie as the Virgin Mary, hovering in the clouds with her children above a Wal-Mart store. This painting was exhibited at the Miami Art Fair in January 2007 and created a worldwide controversy that was covered by ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN and Fox television networks, as well as The International Herald Tribune and The New York Times. A full size study for the work was included in the 2011 exhibition "Beyond RE Production: Mothering", at the Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien in Berlin.
Kretz also creates fiber-based art work, that has been featured at The Museum of Arts & Design in New York, The Van Gijn Museum in the Netherlands, Academy of Arts & Design at Tsinghua University in Beijing, The San Jose Museum of Textiles, the Society for Contemporary Craft, the Frost Art Museum and the Fort Collins Museum of Contemporary Art. Her Psychological Clothing series includes a Defense Mechanism Coat with 150 lb (68 kg) of roofing nails pushed through the surface, and a Vagina Dentata Purse. Another textile series features obsessive human hair embroideries that look like intricate drawings.
- New York Times Review of "Pricked: Extreme Embroidery" - December 28, 2007
- "Kate Kretz Uses Human Hair in Motherhood Exhibit at Hardcore Contemporary Art Space", Huffington Post, May 7, 2012