Support Hyperallergic’s independent arts journalism.
In Matt Kleberg’s geometric kingdom, five large-scale paintings and swarms of drawn studies are monumental yet inviting, formal yet playful. Kleberg’s depictions of portals, in oil stick paintings both titanic and spacious, serve as theatrical channels into other worlds as well as mirrors reflecting this one. Trespassing contains the architecturally inspired and boldly colorful abstract work central to the artist’s practice, but with new flourishes and lively, statuesque curves.
The show’s largest painting is also its most curious. “Trespass Against Us” (2019) resembles a gate or fence. Black and white horizontal stripes stretch outward from a central arch. At 66 by 192 inches, I thought I might be able to walk through the passageway beneath the arch. But not quite, as Kleberg reveals proof of his hand; the oil stick breaks the spell. The several studies and drawings for these paintings are replete with to-do lists (“haircut, text family”), notes and quotes, and pen-and-ink renderings thumbtacked alongside “Out the Wilderness (Scaffold Askew)” (2019), a large-scale painting with four arches, all in a range of bright oranges. An arch-shaped Linden’s Buttercrunch Cookie wrapper hangs among the scattered drawings, a reminder that these towering forms are everywhere, in all sizes; we even eat them — a relaxed counterpoint to the show’s more sizeable moments. Instead, the sketches and debris evince the impish, sweet, and haphazard.
The work evokes early Frank Stella, Agnes Martin’s deceptively simple grids, and, at times, the shimmering geometries of Mary Corse. Hung only a few inches above the floor, the paintings seem monumental but accessible. There are many opportunities to trespass, and Kleberg’s paintings, with their open archways and mid-sections, act as invitations — reminders that every gate has an opening, every fence a latch. The works in Trespassing can come across as slightly mischievous, the arches summoning the terms “arch-scoundrel” or “arch-rogue” – an ultra-clever trickster. Kleberg’s paintings, drawings, and titles project this attitude.
“Blind Arcade (Pure Compression)” (2019) is one such arch-rogue. Seven arches are installed in a row, increasing and then decreasing in height to make a larger arch. This is where the paint transforms to suggest actual stone. These arches are decorative portals, but they evoke the illusion of stone, creating a dramatic moment for the viewer.
Kleberg’s sense of humor is combined with surprising bursts of color in “Elvis Leg” (2019) and “Touch and Go (Trilithon)” (2019), which are composed of straight and wavy multicolored lines. In the latter, a block of stacked horizontal lines seems to be sliding toward the bottom of the picture plane. Kleberg’s paintings open portals, alchemizing oil stick abstractions into wittily mystic moments. Kleberg will likely keep trespassing to find more unexplored terrain. To quote the artist’s excited scribble: “Boldness and uncertainty but not ambivalence!”
The city brought shows to life that will be talked about for years to come.
Our favorite LA shows of 2021, brought to you by the writers and editors of Hyperallergic.
On view in Abu Dhabi until February 5, 2022, the paintings and sculptures in Modernisms shed new light on artists like Parviz Tanavoli, Fahrelnissa Zeid, and M.F. Husain.
Full Spectrum spans 40 years of the artist’s career and provides an efficient crash course for anyone new to Edmonds’s work.
A show at the Prado valorizes cross-cultural flows while muffling ruptures, and two contemporary art exhibitions critique Hispanic legacies to investigate how art history occludes power.
SMFA at Tufts is seeking applications for at least four full-time Professor of the Practice positions in Sound/Sound Installation, Ceramics, Sculpture, and Drawing.
International Court of Justice Rules Azerbaijan Must Stop Destroying Armenian Cultural Heritage in Artsakh
The ruling points to major implications for protection of all cultural heritage during peacetime.
Afghan refugee Amin didn’t feel comfortable telling director Jonas Poher Rasmussen his story without a way to conceal his identity. Rasmussen explains the process to Hyperallergic.
Yemen Blues brings their sonic blend of Yemenite, West African, and Jazz back to Joe’s Pub in New York City this December, featuring opener Ahmed Alshaiba.
Now that’s change.
Michael Steinhardt was in possession of over 180 objects smuggled from 11 nations by “crime bosses, money launderers and tomb raiders.”
“Jobless, futureless, in constant fear of arrest and death at the hands of the Taliban, we do not live but merely exist,” says an open letter published by Artists at Risk.