Martin Kline's paintings are done using encaustic, a process that uses hot pigment-enriched beeswax, which he then paints with a brush. Each layer is built upon, often revealing the layers beneath. The transition between each layer creates an overall pattern or rhythm. The wax is suspended in stunning colors—red, orange, blue—and one in natural beeswax. His paintings display Kline’s fascination with the natural world, his shapes evoking flowers or fungi growing from a tree.
Kline’s sculptural work is equally accumulative. A pair of drum tables, cast in bronze, are covered in layers of protruding, organic shapes. Another piece, a vertical bronze sculpture, snakes up from the base like vertebrae on a spine.
Douglas Hyland, Director of the New Britain Museum of Art in New Britain Connecticut where Martin Kline recently had a major mid-career retrospective, writes, “Because his work is lyrically abstract, critics and art historians have commented consistently on the romantic sensibilities Martin’s paintings and sculptures evoke. He blends aspects of the beautiful with the sublime. His vision boasts the remarkable qualities of originality and consistency so that all of his works have a distinctive cohesive quality yet each explores a different theme and is the result of different influences. . . . Almost all have an organic quality which tethers them to the tradition of landscape painting. But, instead of a panoramic display, Kline concentrates on a slice of nature magnified and thus examined intensely. His beguiling and seductive creations engage us aesthetically but also intellectually because of the questions they evoke with regards to man’s role with nature.”
In review of his 2012 exhibition at Gallery NAGA, Cate McQuaid, from The Boston Globe wrote, "He layers on his medium, making the work sculptural. In the dramatic "Vanitas," he coaxes spiraling petals off the surface in white, gray, and black, rising toward the center. It's a topographic effect - it looks lunar, or scorched, yet the comparisons to a delicate flower remain.