Steve Turner Gallery
July 2 – July 30, 2022
Beginning with a foundation of acrylic and watercolors on canvas that are enhanced through various textures such as vinyl paint, paper clay, and sand, she then incorporates found objects like bones, rocks, driftwood, glass bottles, spoons, and even plastic toys. From across the room, the viewer may be completely oblivious to the fact that the canvases protrude by several inches with such textures, appearing more like whimsical landscape paintings at first.
These colorful works are teeming with life, on levels both macro and micro. Heavily focused on nature as a sentient force, the paintings feature main characters that are anthropomorphized hills and root systems, evidently having emerged from the ground to reclaim the fate of the land. It’s as if we’ve stepped into a moment of metamorphosis, with futures in a state of flux amid dynamic environments. Symbolic of this state of movement are majestic horses, which make appearances throughout the show.
Willow Tree Finds a Way is a large diptych where multiple levels, which grow increasingly dimensional towards the foreground, seem to represent the battle between nature and all that is manmade. In the far distance, the misty outlines of a cityscape precede serene plateaus of land with galloping horses, followed by turbulent roads and a bridge smothered by smog plumes emitted from a nearby car. At center stage, a resilient tree’s branches plead: Although strewn with trash bags and debris, it serves as a beacon of hope for the local creatures treading though. In the forefront, complex underground root and sewer networks are revealed as disparately mingled.
To provide a respite from the bustling activity, Horse Girl and the Temptation of Stillness shows a moment of peace in windy pastures. Root creatures are seen placidly resting on the back of a mechanical horse, who has tossed its horseshoes into the nearby riverbank. The ground is made up of real shells and rocks collected from Lake Michigan, and the long grasses that surround this are made from strands of vinyl paint, tinted with various greens and yellows.
As an extension of Klingbeil’s fascination with small found objects, an installation of large horses, constructed in mosaic fashion from stones, glass, shells, and manmade trinkets, dominates the center of the gallery floor. At a time when man’s dire sway on the natural environment continues to rapidly unfold, the return to our roots appears to be a sentiment that the artist has engrossed herself with, expressed through uniquely crafted, elaborate, and imaginative worlds.
Cover image: Willow Tree Finds a Way; all images courtesy of Steve Turner, photographed by the author.