Nicole Chesney, Masako Kamiya, Joo Lee Kang, Martin Kline Press Release

Approaching Volume: Nicole Chesney, Masako Kamiya, Joo Lee Kang
Martin Kline: An Introduction
October 5 – November 3 at Gallery NAGA

Gallery NAGA is pleased to present the work of Nicole Chesney, Masako Kamiya, and Joo Lee Kang in a group show, Approaching Volume. This exhibition explores volume through the lens of three young talented artists and their distinctive mediums. In his debut at Gallery NAGA, featured examples of Martin Kline’s compelling encaustic work and metal-based sculptures will be on view in the Back Room.

Approaching Volume: Nicole Chesney, Masako Kamiya, and Joo Lee Kang and Martin Kline: An Introduction is on exhibition from October 5 to November 3. A reception for the artists and the public will be held at the gallery on Friday, October 5 from 6 to 8 pm.

Approaching Volume assembles an artist who paints on glass, Nicole Chesney; a painter who works with her material sculpturally, Masako Kamiya; and an artist who draws, and creates wallpaper and sculpture out of paper, Joo Lee Kang. In the works shown, all share a means of working with three-dimensional space.

Nicole Chesney, whose recent projects include large commissioned pieces to be installed at 7 World Trade Center in New York and the public space at the new residence hall at Massachusetts College of Art, works with glass in much the same way an artist uses canvas or paper. Glass is the surface onto which she paints. But Chesney’s work exhibits an aura or space in front of the surface, almost a glow, which is rarely seen on canvas or paper. Her colors vibrate off the wall.

For twelve years Masako Kamiya has developed an approach to painting that is hers alone. She constructs tiny towers of gouache, an opaque watercolor, one dot of paint at a time. When a dot dries, she adds on top of it another dot. When the painting is finished, she will have done this perhaps 10,000 times. Her paintings are stunningly complex, and their transitions of color are ravishing, especially on close inspection.


Joo Lee Kang, a recent graduate of the joint School of the Museum of Fine Arts/Tufts University program and one of ten recipients of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 2013 Traveling Fellowship, is showing with NAGA for the first time. Her delicately rendered drawings, done with a ballpoint pen, depict still-lifes teeming with flora and grotesque and mutated fauna. Presented in an ornamental manner of swags, wreaths, and bouquets, they appear as innocent, decorative drawings. Closer inspection reveals a lamb with five legs, conjoined lizards, a two-headed pig, and a winged cat. Her paper-sculpture work uses the same vocabulary of images, but they are presented three-dimensionally, growing out of the wall or floor.

In the back room the paintings and sculpture of Martin Kline will be on view.

The 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.”