Martin Kline: White
Oct 5 – Nov 3 at Gallery NAGA
In October, Gallery NAGA will present a solo exhibition of carefully selected paintings and sculptural objects dating from 1996 through 2018 by Martin Kline.
Martin Kline: White is on exhibition from October 5 through November 3. A reception for the artist and the public will be held at the gallery on Friday, October 5 from 6 to 8 pm.
Martin Kline’s paintings are created using an encaustic process, one in which hot pigment-enriched beeswax is laid down on linen or panel and then manipulated. Each layer is built upon another, often revealing the layers beneath, the transition creating an overall pattern or rhythm. This same process is applied to his sculptural forms before they are cast in bronze or stainless steel.
All the work in the exhibition is close in tone–some pure white, others creamy, and some fully metallic. Kline’s use of white allows light to create dramatic shadows across the surface of his work; even his most monochromatic works appear dimensional, varied and energetic. In the catalog that accompanies the exhibition, Kline responds to a question by Carol Vogel, veteran arts writer, about the connection to Robert Ryman’s white paintings:
“Ryman describes his use of white as a medium, and I’m not involved in that approach. I’m using the color white in a more traditional sense. It’s a color that is pure and neutral but the built-up surfaces create shadows, and these shadows add color, depending on the source and direction of light. The writer Linda Norden said that shadow was my métier. Shadow as a medium? I’ve also used the color silver in a stainless steel sculpture and encaustic paintings to reflect light. Some of these paintings aren’t pure white but approximate the luminosity and sensation of the color. In the case of cast bronze sculpture, the white patina may be a thin wash or more opaque.”
While Kline’s paintings touch upon the natural world with shapes evoking flowers or fungi sprouting from a tree, many of his objects’ connection to nature is more direct. Carol Vogel, in the catalog that accompanies the exhibition, poses a thought to Kline, “Over the years you’ve put wax on actual objects, like chairs and shoes, tree limbs and trunks, as well as baseball bats, and sometimes cast them in metal, in stainless steel and bronze.” Kline responds, “The shoes and chairs are tributes to Van Gogh. I used tree parts and saw an analogy to the human body, the cutting of limbs, regenerating blossoms, connections to healing. A branch became a scepter, redolent of power and status. This led to the all-American scepter, the baseball bat, in which some are wholesome and others appear menacing and weapon-like. Hammocks are symbols of relaxation and rest, but sleep is not always peaceful.”
Kline’s work can be found in the many collections including the Brooklyn Museum, the Fogg Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum, and the Yale University Art Gallery.
This exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog with a q & a between Carol Vogel and Martin Kline.