Karlic’s work is invested in the representation of American culture, race and diasporic existence surrounding industry and labor. Her photographic practice is dedicated to telling the stories of those who have been affected by the post-modernization of the auto industry and examining the use of contemporary and documentary photographic practices within personal narratives. In Karlic’s work stretching from Poland, Detroit, North Dakota, French Polynesia, Brazil, and California, each of her projects has been part of the same journey; a conceptually-driven narrative of the ultimately global reach of 20th century automotive industry on individuals and communities.
Stemming from the notion of an uprooted childhood, her practice concentrates on the human effects of social upheaval: Close to Home (2005) focuses on Ukraine’s post-Soviet conditions; The Dee (2006) depicts Detroit’s de-industrialization; Dear Diary (2008) explores one online community searching for companionship; RE:What Color is the Sacred (2009), sponsored by Tim Wride and the French Consulate, examines Western views of French Polynesia and the “re-birth” of Tahitian culture. Aberdeen Sierra Leone (2011) portrays a group of progressive post-war adolescent males in West Africa. Rockin’ the Bakken (2012) documents a modern day oil boomtown of North Dakota, USA. Primer/Elementarz (2014) is an exploration of the personal stories of those who exist behind the US auto industry, along with charting the evolution (or de-evolution) of that industry, and as a result, how our social dynamic at large has shifted. From a personal perspective, this book tracks the reach of the US auto industry, stretching from Detroit, to California, to Eastern Europe - Poland, where Karlic’s father—an engineer—implemented new industrial plants. As a new approach on a family chronicle, the book’s five chapters are punctuated by a father’s attempts to communicate abroad via texts, one sign of his lifelong effort to sustain both his family and his own identity during many shifts in location, temporary residence, and work.
Currently, her ongoing work Rubberlands (2014 - present) is inspired by research on the history of Henry Ford’s forgotten jungle city, Fordlandia, in the Amazon. This ongoing project weaves together materials from the Henry Ford, Firestone, Bridgestone and Michelin archives, auto manufacturing advertising archives in combination with photographic fieldwork in Brazil’s rubber plantations. Karlic is a recipient of the 2011 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, in support of her ongoing investigations in diasporic existence and the human condition of laborers, more specifically surrounding Brazil’s rubber industry and Henry Ford’s influence on the industrial and agricultural landscape.