CARLA KLEIN | JEFFREY VALLANCE
March 20 – April 19, 2014
Opening Reception: Thursday, March 20, 6-8 PM
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).
Tanya Bonakdar Gallery is pleased to present two separate bodies of work by Jeffrey Vallance, Enamel Paintings:
Idols & Villains and Islomania: Key West.
Jeffrey Vallance's works turn a critical and humorous eye toward his own wide-ranging experiences, and in this
newest exhibition the artist presents paintings, drawings, and performance-based works that employ a pseudoanthropological
approach to address themes of faith, myth, celebrity, ritual, and popular culture. Since childhood
Vallance has collected objects of personal significance and fabricated displays for them. This lifelong penchant
for collecting and exhibition however transcends mere presentation, as the artworks themselves provide both
evidence of and a unique perspective on the vernacular that is intrinsic to our culture's broader social evolutions,
tastes and patterns.
The first series on view, Enamel Paintings: Idols & Villains, began in the late 1970s and early 80s. Vallance
produced a group of paintings featuring images of television personalities in Rust-oleum and Krylon brand enamel
paint, as well as graffiti decals intended for use on professional model train dioramas or "Hot Rod" cars. Many of
the decals were produced during the Iran Hostage Crisis of 1979-81, and included such slogans as "Nuke Iran"
and "A Weenie for Kohmeini," examples of how knee-jerk populist jargon during crisis situations find their way into
seemingly apolitical American culture - e.g. the model train hobbies of middle class Americans. The recent
enamel paintings begin where this series left off in the early 1980s, now featuring such historical political figures
as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, Kim Jong-il, television personality Connie Chung, actor Leonard Nimoy, the King of
Tonga, artist Mike Kelley, best-selling author Temple Grandin, and many other eminent personalities, pop-culture
heroes, writers, dictators, despots and scoundrels.
Also included is a selection of painted preliminary drawings that show the development of the works. Playing with
the meanings we impose upon public figures on both a personal and mass cultural level, Vallance explores in
equal measure notions of the archetype, and more specifically who is labeled an idol or a villain. Carefully crafted,
handmade artworks embellished with everyday items reveal hidden messages, as small overlooked objects are
made special and important.
Islomania: Key West was created during Vallance's recent artist residency in Florida, and features
documentation and imagery from the island. While in Key West, the artist took part in local traditions, including
participation in the annual Ernest Hemingway "Papa Look-Alike Contest." Vallance found the legendary character
of Hemingway even more interesting than the real person, as stories of Hemingway's adventures were
essentially rewriting the biographical account of the author, merging fiction and reality. The gallery exhibition
presents a performance relic from his participation in the Look-Alike contest, with anecdotal wall text and
documentation much like the wall label a museum curator might use to contextualize a work of art.
The exhibition also presents a series of drawings of local fish, as well as enamel paintings inspired by Key West
tourist maps. Masterful, humorous paintings illustrating regional highlights, symbols, and even images of the
chickens that inhabit the island, these map paintings serve as geographical dislocations of a real place. Other
drawings with ink on paper catalog the fish that Vallance saw during his residency, like vacation snapshots used
to record a trip. Through the documentation of his experience, Vallance highlights the ways value is created
through narrative, and how context shapes the meaning of objects, animals, and people on both a personal and
social, cultural level.
Recent exhibitions include The Vallance Bible, Centre d'édition contemporaine, Geneva, Switzerland, 2012 (solo);
The Word of God, Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA, 2011-2012 (solo); The Spectacular of Vernacular,
Walker Art Center and traveled to the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, TX, Montclair Art Museum,
Montclair, NJ, Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC, 2011-2012 (group); and
Seventh Dream of Teenage Heaven, Columbus College of Art & Design, Columbus, OH, 2011 (group). His work
has been included in group exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Barbican Centre,
London, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Germany, Tate Gallery, Liverpool, UK, UCLA Hammer
Museum, Los Angeles, and the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam, among others.
For further information regarding upcoming exhibitions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.