January 25, 2017
Line Forms Here
The Reader, 01/25/2017
Janet L. Farber


Line Forms Here
The Reader, 01/25/2017
Janet L. Farber

Kluber, who is art department chair at Grinnell College and maintains a studio in Iowa City, uses the pinstripe as his mark of choice. His compositions, usually horizontal, feature bands of paint generally of the same width, but in varying lengths to create the appearance of color blocks. Unlike Smith’s work, Kluber’s stripes are hard edged, flat, straight, nearly perfect, as if digitally rendered. Which is part of the idea.

Kluber’s point of departure in determining form, palette and interval is from the intersection of painting tradition with the expanding digital space in which we increasingly live; as he describes, a locus where the physical world meets the virtual one.

An artist with a background in printmaking, he has long gravitated toward an approach to non-figurative work that meditates on reconciling an artist’s individual aesthetics with abstraction’s sometimes “authorless” style and printmaking’s often detached aspects of mechanical reproduction.

As the result of his own happy accident in the studio, Kluber’s computer crashed while installing some updated software, and as the data morphed into narrow horizontal strips of color, the artist had an epiphany. The visual experience of data destruction and imperfection had become source material for creation and invention. The ways he approached constructing code-influenced compositions are borne out in the paintings in the exhibition.

There are the “traditional” paintings, the aforementioned crisp geometric abstractions. Exactingly even lines of color are laid in alkyd (an oil-based paint), and are achieved through use of vinyl masks adapted from car detailing techniques. Kluber’s choice of aluminum panel also allows him to keep his surfaces pristine and maintain their emphasis on the optical experience of shifting color and shapes, rather than dwell on process or facture.

“Friday I’m In Love” is just such a painting. It is a large panel consisting of a field of razor sharp horizontal lines in alternating hues along the red-orange-gold spectrum; in the middle third of the composition, bands of cyan are threaded across and short sections of green create vertical blocks of color at each end. The result is a composition with a pulsing, almost strobing effect.

Kluber’s fascination, however, did not end with translating the computer experience into the forms and chromatic keys of a traditional artwork. Instead, he set about turning many of his artworks into moving pictures with the addition of digital projection, turning hardware into a painting tool.

“Half-Day Closing” is the show’s singular example of this new approach to energizing the painted object. Onto one of his typical striped compositions, Kluber overlays a customized projection of shapes, shadows and colors that spread from the inside to the edges, move right to left then back again, all in random, non-repeating patterns. Depending on the graphics, the projection may enhance or completely alter perception of its backdrop.

The results are mesmerizing. Projection and painting melt together visually; color seems both solid and immaterial. The eye, having difficulty discerning the fact of it, gives itself up to tracing the rhythmic, cinematic experience. The palpable physicality of Kluber’s illusionism is reminiscent of light installations by James Turrell—one of several pioneering artists exploring light and space in their works—who made luminous color and visual perception the sole property of his art.

This format also offers Kluber a chance to make a single artwork—the actual painted object—into a veritable series of related compositions, each combination of projected forms giving it a new color story, pattern and focal point. The projections massage both the left and right brain: the works are formal and intellectual, emotional and dreamy, and downright seductive.

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January 17, 2017
Globalocation: Celebrating 20 Years of Artnauts
J. Willard Marriott Library
The University of Utah, 01/17/2017

The University of Utah’s J. Willard Marriott Library will host the art exhibition Globalocation: Celebrating 20 Years of Artnauts, Jan. 20-March 3.

Artnauts, an art collective formed 20 years ago by George Rivera, professor of art and art history at the University of Colorado, Boulder, consists of 300 global artists who serve as goodwill ambassadors, acknowledging and supporting victims of oppression worldwide. Their creativity has generated over 230 exhibitions across five continents. Five faculty members from the U’s Department of Art and Art History are members of the collective, Sandy Brunvand, Beth Krensky, V. Kim Martinez, Brian Snapp and Xi Zhang.

Globalocation derives from “Globalocational Art” — a concept used by the Artnauts to refer to their exhibitions in international venues. It is the mission of the Artnauts to take art to places of contention, and this anniversary exhibition is a sample of places where they have been and themes they have addressed.

“The Artnauts could not exist without the commitment of the artists in the collective to a common vision of the transformative power of art,” said Rivera. “The Artnauts make their contribution with art that hopefully generates a dialogue with an international community on subjects that are sometimes difficult to raise.”

Krensky, associate department chair of the Art and Art History Department, had the opportunity to travel with Rivera in Chile as part of an Artnauts project, working with mothers who were searching for their children who had mysteriously disappeared during a time of political unrest.

“When I travelled to Chile in 1998, George and I spent an afternoon with the Mothers of the Disappeared, and the meeting changed my life,” said Krensky. “It was from that moment on that I placed a picture of them on my desk to look at every day. I was so moved by what they each had lost — a son, a brother, a father — and yet what remained for them was a deep, deep well of love. They were fierce warriors and stood up to the government to demand the whereabouts and information of the people who had disappeared, but they lived within profound love.”

The 20th anniversary exhibition at the Marriott Library is a retrospective of the traveling works the Artnauts have toured around the globe. The exhibition will be located on level three of the library. The opening reception is open to the public and will be held on Friday, Jan 20, 4-6 p.m. Rivera will speak at 4 p.m.

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