Featuring such expansive, desolate landscapes as airport runways and sprawling roads beneath cloud-filled skies, this focused selection of recent large-scale paintings by acclaimed Dutch artist Carla Klein occupies the Museum’s sixty-foot-long project wall. Working primarily in her signature aqueous blue-gray palette, Carla Klein portrays what she calls “non-places”: spaces constructed with the sole purpose of being passed through. Typically associated with activity and noise, the scenes are absent of people, presented as unchanging, abandoned landscapes.
Often working from her own photographs, Klein explores the physical properties of film, embracing its imperfections. The artist incorporates her negatives’ scratches into the work, transforming them into painterly distortions that draw attention to the surface of the picture plane. The resulting effect is a sense of distance between the viewer and the landscape, almost as if we were looking through a smeared pane of glass. This exhibition introduces Klein’s recent implementation of color; notably, what appears to be a red curtain in Untitled (pictured above) further emphasizes the experience of mediated viewing. The works navigate between illusions of vast depth and a reinforced awareness of the picture plane—not only as a painted surface but as a perceived barrier.
Carla Klein (b.1970, Zwolle, Netherlands) has had solo exhibitions at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive in California (2005) and Jarla Partilager in Stockholm (2007). Her paintings have also been shown in group exhibitions at the Bass Museum of Art in Miami in Florida; the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio; Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam; the Denver Art Museum; and Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam, among others. Recipient of the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds Charlotte Köhler Award in 1999, Klein was also shortlisted for Rotterdam’s 2012 Dolf Henkes Award. Her work is included in the permanent collections of the Berkeley Art Museum, Miami Art Museum, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Gemeentemuseum, and Thermenmuseum.
Carla Klein is organized for the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis by Jeffrey Uslip, Chief Curator.
This exhibition is generously supported by the Mondriaan Fund, an organization that encourages the international appreciation of contemporary art from the Netherlands. Special thanks to Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York.