I have had the pleasure of exhibiting with Wendy Klemperer several times in the past. She will be exhibiting with fellow Brooklyn artist Steven Brower. They will be giving a lecture in the Visual Arts Atrium Gallery on March 6.
Wendy’s subject is wildlife – not domesticated critters but large and untamed beasts – lions, leopards, moose. She renders them in different materials and scales, from life size horses in steel scrap and rebar to small, beautifully rendered colored waxes of more exotic jungle creatures. The sculptures evoke the remarkable power and grace of these animals, but at the same time they convey a sense of deterioration and loss. The horse in “Green Jumper” rears aggressively, but there’s something almost macabre in the coloration and surface handling. There’s a tension between the animal’s accurately rendered and glorious form, and its apparent incompleteness. The sculpture’s making process – wax applied over a wire armature – is completely evident in the piece, so our attention is drawn to its existence as a made thing as well as a representation. Something similar is at work in “King Cheetah and Thompson’s”. Here, the coloration is accurate and remarkably rich. But we’re presented directly with the violence of nature as the cheetah stalks off with the gazelle between its teeth, a red glare in its eyes. Is this a kind of impressionism, in which the viewer can fill in the blanks – or is there a message about the tenuous quality of these creatures’ existence, and perhaps by extension our own? Klemperer’s delicate but intense sculptures raise questions about the balances of power in nature and between nature and culture. She notes: “The sculptures are not ultimately about animals as anecdotes or records of an actual creature. They use the body language of animals to express an emotional state. The driving force of the work is the dynamic line running throughout, conveying raw energy within a sinuous form.”
Steven Brower’s work proceeds from a self-reflective examination of the process of making art and an interest in de-coding that practice. He remarks: “…one of my biggest concerns is with the act of making things, and making things myself, as a product of curiosity in, research of, and experimentation with the world around me. As a result I’ve make lots of things; models, machines, furniture, shoes, houses, tools, food, books, as well as all that ‘traditional’ artwork.”
Arts Atrium Gallery in located in the Visual Arts Building at Union College in Schenectady, NY for more information call 518.388.6714