Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to present Martin Kline: In Monochrome, his fourth solo exhibition at the gallery. On view will be the artist’s signature paintings executed on panel and Belgian linen, presented alongside sculpture. The show will open with a public reception for the artist on November 9, 5:30-7:30pm, and will run through January 6, 2024.
Kline has achieved a technical mastery through a long-standing engagement with encaustic -- bee or synthetic wax mixed with pigment. This medium of choice has enabled a strategy of abstract representation stemming from the manner in which he manipulates the material. Encaustic can be capricious in that it requires to be heated at the right temperature to mix properly with the powdered pigment. The material also demands great skill and understanding of its properties when applying onto a surface.
Throughout his career, Kline has typically worked in series, executing several paintings surrounding a theme or idea. This exhibition will present monochromatic paintings from two distinct bodies of work as well as sculptures cast in bronze and stainless steel. The Tabula Rasa painting series refers to blank slates, ancient stone tablets covered in wax that were used for writing purposes. These could be easily erased and used repeatedly. (In later centuries, the Latin term also came to signify a clean mental state of being.) In this series of white paintings executed on Belgian linen, Kline heats the encaustic and applies it while in a liquid state through the reverse of the canvas. These works take on an improvised physicality as he pushes the encaustic through the fabric weave to the front of the canvas. The palette of these linen works is strictly white, with the wax’s varying hues, density and transparency determined by the varying temperature applications. While textured, the Tabula Rasa paintings are not as sculptural as his wood paneled works for the simple reason that the linen can only support so much weight. These beautifully rendered automatism paintings express more subtle and nuanced monochromatic fields or spirited gestures.
By contrast, the paintings made on wood panels, known as Jewels, Blooms, Blossoms, or Ledas, are more ritualistically and copiously applied with a paintbrush, the additive layers allowing the artist to build up the surface. Traces of the brush are evident as a reminder that the encaustic was once liquid, and at times the material drips, splashes or pours down the side of the panel to reveal vestiges of the creative process. These works can be so heavily textured they could be considered sculptural, with shadows becoming an important component to the overall visual experience. Kline is known to take this notion and material investigation even further by actually casting some of these paintings into bronze or stainless-steel sculptures, even going so far as to cast the easels on which the paintings rest. Unlike the Tabula Rasa series, the paneled works can be rendered in richly saturated colors, and can also be presented with a two-toned palette. Kline’s visual pursuit in these stunning works mirror natural arrangements and patterns seen in nature: organic growths, blossoms, plumed formations, and the like.
Kline has had a prolific career, and his work has been the subject of numerous solo and group exhibitions in the United States and abroad. His paintings, drawings and sculptures are in many notable public and private collections, including the Metropolitan Museum, the Brooklyn Museum and the Morgan Library in New York City; the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo; The Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore; the Fogg Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge; The High Museum of Art, Atlanta; the Albertina in Vienna, and the Museum of Fine Art in Houston, among others.