Carla Klein: Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York

March 20 - April 19, 2014
Installation Views
Press release

Tanya Bonakdar Gallery is very pleased to present a new series of dynamic paintings by Dutch artist Carla Klein. For her sixth solo exhibition with the gallery, Klein continues her exploration of the relationship between painting and photography and the layers of mediation involved in both creating and interpreting images. Exquisitely rendered, this latest body of work is the first in which Klein has explored the use of color beyond her muted blue-gray palette, layering reds, yellows, and oranges to create intensely vibrant and arresting compositions. Based on photographs from the artist's archive, each composition pushes the original image towards abstraction while maintaining a close relationship to the photograph itself. Traces of the imaging process appear in many of these new works, and the use of color re-contextualizes contemporary digital photography’s use of filters, color effects and manipulation.


Emphasizing the inherent flaws in any representational process, Klein’s paintings offer their own compelling and authentic visual experience, incorporating elements of chance and deliberate distortion of reality. Exploring her own archive of undeveloped film and old photos, Klein finds endless inspiration in the mechanics and materiality of the photographic process from the first exposure to the finished print. Klein embraces the over-exposures, any errors in the developing process, the first exposure in the roll ordinarily discarded, as well as rips and folds in the paper. Gestural brushstrokes and stark stripes of bright color mimic irregularities and streaks of toner, that bleed and smudge into the paper. Klein replaces entire fields of color from her landscapes with bold planes of yellow and orange suggestive of stylized digital color effects. Layering translucent red panels of color over her muddy landscapes like a screen, this application mimics both light-leaks in film as well as digital color filters popularly used in photo-sharing social media outlets. The artist simultaneously embraces and criticizes such technological effects to create paintings that transcend and transform their original subject matter. 


Varying from monumental landscapes to small-scale abstractions, Klein’s atmospheric paintings reference images taken from a variety of locations that accumulated in the artist’s digital and analog archive over the past decade. For previous exhibitions, Klein based her paintings on photographs that she took at a discrete time and place—during a road trip to the salt flats of Utah, or the deserts of Texas—but these new works represent a varied assortment of photos. As a starting point for this exhibition, Klein started to rethink the concept, function, and meaning of a personal archive as a result of the accessibility of photography today. Rather than amassing a personal photo archive as documentation of our individual history and private experiences, we now put great emphasis on the instantaneous snapshot that is immediate and fleeting. We become farther removed from each photograph because of the sheer quantity of images we are constantly sorting through.


Based in Rotterdam, Klein (b. 1970, Zwolle, the Netherlands) has has presented major solo exhibitions at World Class Boxing, Miami, FL, 2008; UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film, California (2006) and at Jarla Partilager, Stockholm, Sweden(2007), among other museums worldwide. Recent presentations include a solo project commissioned by the Aspen Art Museum and Aspen Skiing Company, Colorado (2009-2010), along with group exhibitions at Kunsthal Rotterdam, the Netherlands (2011) and the Bass Museum of Art, Miami, FL (2011).


Carla Klein’s exhibition is generously supported by The Consulate General of The Netherlands in New York.

All installation images above: Photo by Jean Vong