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Carla Klein / MATRIX 218

September 18, 2005 - November 6, 2005

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Carla Klein: Untitled, 2005; oil on canvas; 70 3/4 x 157 1/2 in.; purchase made possible by a bequest from Therese Bonney.

Download the exhibition brochure (PDF).

The MATRIX Program presents the first West Coast showing of Rotterdam-based painter Carla Klein, and her first solo museum exhibition in the United States. Working with oil and enamel and a predominantly monochromatic palette, Klein creates large-scale compositions that are spare but gestural. They can suggest open atrium views, swimming pools, and watery seascapes, hovering between abstraction and representation.

Klein’s images, at once expressionistic and emotionless, suggest more than they reveal. Primarily devoid of figures or any clear living presence, the paintings instead reflect traces and artifacts of life and movement. She exploits the similarity between the liquid form of both subject and medium—water, sky, light-filled architectural spaces—which she anchors with strong but simple geometric elements. Conceptually, Klein blurs the border between painting and photography as she creates images that straddle the worlds of reality and fiction.

The locations and subjects she depicts are often points of departure or transitory landmarks, such as airport terminals and runways, roads, and bridges. These images seem inspired by the genre of photographic postcards, based on iconography that reflects more the constructed ideal than any real site or actual experience. Photographs are a useful metaphor for Klein’s work: formal constructs that imply transparency but become an undeniably biased filter through which her subjects must be perceived.

Some of Klein’s paintings for her MATRIX exhibition were created during her residency at the Headlands Center for the Arts earlier this year. Her work was featured in a major group exhibition in 2004 at Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam, and during 2005 in Vanishing Point at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio. The exhibition was curated by Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson, former Phyllis Wattis MATRIX Curator and now director and chief curator of the Aspen Art Museum.

Terri Cohn
Interim MATRIX Curator

The MATRIX Program at the UC Berkeley Art Museum is made possible by the generous endowment gift of Phyllis C. Wattis.

Additional donors to the MATRIX Program include the UAM Council MATRIX Endowment and Glenn and April Bucksbaum.

Special support for Carla Klein/MATRIX 218 Scape is provided by the Consulate General of the Netherlands, New York and Los Angeles.