Piper Keys begins its exhibition programme with a presentation of work by Swiss painter Flora Klein.
Klein has involved us in a process of simplification, where the exhibition is imagined in its materials, not unlike a painting, by reduction. In parallel, Piper Keys has been conceived with an interest in art practices that express a style of life and the expressivity of the materials themselves. So, we have been concerned to observe the artist’s sentiment. Klein talks about her influences, whether they are friends and family or figures of art history, with a familiar appreciation. With this directness, or closeness, there is also a clarity. Hers sounds like a voice reassured by a nurtured intuition.
It feels natural to start to describe Klein’s paintings as abstract. Her recent paintings follow simple repeated layouts. Each painting is made up of several layers, which are laid down in varying orders. Within these compositions patterns respond to flexing waves. Texture is focused or blurred by nuanced brush strokes. Her sense of fallible repetition resembles diffuse light as it falls through a natural screen. Grey primed canvas is washed over with luminous, citrus yellow and orange tints. Rather than fixing a specific representation, Klein nods to an Impressionist interpretation of leaf forms, or watery reflection as a single surface - a fact which is underlined in the equal attention given across all areas of the canvas.
“I think if colour-fields or ‘colour-lanes’ are considered in terms of ‘energy’, the surface of a painting and its borders can become relativised.” *
On Klein’s model, an image is part of a process that starts on the canvas, then migrates from it. Almost in direct opposition to the depth of field that painters might have worked to achieve in other projects, semi-translucent washes, glow in the dark paints and other hidden mediums emanate in the contrived space between painting and viewer. Perhaps the only symbolism we might read is the seeming ‘flow’ of patterns on the canvas. This pictorial movement is an expression of Klein’s aspiration for the work, like the use of glow in the dark paint - that it is active, that it radiates.
Flora Klein will be Piper Keys’ opening exhibition at its gallery space in Whitechapel, East London. A series of solo exhibitions will follow.
Flora Klein was born in Bern, Switzerland. She lives and works in Lausanne. Concurrently Klein exhibits in 'Dear Peggy' at Treize, Paris. Recent exhibitions include ‘Mr I’, at Graff Mourgue d’Algue, Geneva and 'Tell the children' at La Salle de bains, Lyon, both 2012.
Piper Keys would like to thank the following individuals who have supported the opening of the gallery: Reuben Bowles, Tom Clarke, Mike Goddard, Alan and Christine Leaman, Joseph Leaman, Robert Liddiment, Simon Liddiment, Joseph Murray, Shed and Jonathan P Watts. Special thanks to David Stearn at picture framers Roberts & Stearn.
* Flora Klein on the post-war German painter Günter Fruhtrunk’s use of ‘colour-lanes’.