Friday, April 13, 2007

Carla Klein at Tanya Bonakdar

Much in the way acrylic changed the face of art history, so, too, has modern photography.

Many of today's most widely known painters are not burdened by the easel and the sheer physical exertion that in the past it has required to be a landscape painter.

Instead, a good percentage of artists utilize what has been around for more than a century-- the camera; and now, even more conveniently, the digital camera.

In many ways, the ISO speed and "panoramic" settings have replaced what the hand and eye can do so naturally on their own with issues of perception.

In the case of Carla Klein, though, she is able not to be a slave to a mere contraption, but rather strongly exerts her own vision.Each work is devoid of humanity; an emptiness; a "last man standing" phenomenon not unlike the famed "Twilight Zone" episode, "Time Enough at Last."

(Image at right, all rights reserved, Cayuga Productions)

In this episode, Burgess Meredith plays Henry Bemis, a mousish little man whose only desire is to be left alone with his books; to not be bothered or nagged; to be alone.

Then he gets his wish, the hands of the clock frozen in time.A landscape appears before him of abandonment-- total destruction-- but his dream fulfilled as stacks and stacks of books lay before him.

Of course, the twisted hand of fate intervenes, leaving his myopic self with eyeglasses shattered-- forever negating his dream-come-true, so close to fruition.

In the same way Klein takes scenery not unlike this Armageddon scenario-- an abandoned parking lot; an empty airstrip; the salt flats of Utah, with endless horizons and no civilization in sight-- and makes it appear as a new world with actual possibilities.

The muted greys and charcoals of her work catch the eye with a gentle softness.

I like these images the best-- again, as I recently posted, looking in the car's rearview mirror.

There's something to be said for art that focuses on the subject of "looking backwards."

In many ways, we focus too much on the past, relegating the future to these visions of horrifyingly complex and nightmarish scenarios, a la the Twilight Zone.

Instead, Klein here is showing that there's beauty and peace in solitude, not necessarily something to fear.

Truly breathtaking work, and a beautiful exhibit, even if it has origins in photographic imagery.

Go to more images.

Enjoy your weekend, everyone, and happy Friday the 13th.

Rent a DVD of the Twilight Zone.

A perfect companion for today's grey NYC skies.

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