(Thursday) 1 3 D e c e m b e r 2 0 0 7 - (Saturday) 1 2 J a n u a r y 2 0 0 8
R e c e p t i o n f o r t h e a r t i s t s : T h u r s d a y , 1 3 D e c e m b e r , 6 to 8 p . m .
Howard Scott Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of a two-artist exhibition on Thursday, 13 December. It will be installed through Saturday, 12 January. The Philadelphia-based artist, Ron Klein, will be represented by a number of wall-sited installations of found objects - both seed pods from geographically far-flung locations and man-made objects. The Austin, Texas-based artist, Lance Letscher, will exhibit a number of recent works in a range of scales - collages of found, altered papers and other materials.
In this unexpected pairing of two gifted and wonderfully inventive visual artists, the viewer will discover a number of aspects of both artists' bodies of work which link their investigations and working processes. The most obvious of these, perhaps, is the fact that not only all of the materials they employ are "found", but also that the previous existence of those materials is not "art world" related A second, connective aspect is their respective bodies of work being extremely labor intensive, (the word "obsessive" comes to mind!) - both in the gathering of and employing of their chosen materials. Mr Letscher uses elements cut from printed papers (including paperback book covers, magazine illustrations - preferably from journals printed prior to 1960, as he finds the colors more distinctive and appealing), scraps of cardboard, and other materials which are both evocative and potentially transitory. Mr Klein makes periodic visits to remote rain forests and sometimes to less exotic locales to search for the seed pods of trees and other plants - attracted by the encyclopedic range of their shapes and structures, as well as by their innate spirituality as generative entities. In his wall-sited works of recent years, with their individual, strong silhouettes, he marries these elements from the realm of flora to small-scale, man-made objects - primarily made of metal, plastic, or rubber - which he finds in city dumps or other humble resting places. He seems particularly fond of pods which have an encompassing or cocoon-like structure, frequently inserting them within an industrial object having a related structure, thereby creating a compelling parallel of forms of shared appearance, yet from two different worlds.
Another important interrelationship within these two artists' oeuvres is the degree to which each combines representation with "pure" abstraction. In her recent, perceptive review for The New York Times of the Museum of Modern Art's exhibition of drawings and related preparatory works by Georges Seurat, Roberta Smith ends with the statement "It is now more widely accepted that representation and abstraction can coexist within a work of art. Really, they can't live without each other, and never have…". A less well-known component of Letscher's work consists of the small-scale, closely observed pencil drawings of specific subject matter including botanical studies (branching and rooting structures predominate), horses and migratory birds, and the human head. Though his collages strike most viewers as being resolutely abstract (frequently employing grid-like structures or curvilinear patterns as they do), careful study of many of them reveal references to the actual world, including rhythmic horizontal bands which surely are influenced to some degree by the panoramic, Southwestern landscapes in which he spent his formative years. Klein's choice of the objects he gathers from the forest floor and his choreographing of their interaction with industrial objects are seen by some as an acknowledgment of the increasingly precarious state worldwide of ecosysterms. The critic and curator, J. Susan Isaacs, a champion of Klein's work,
recently wrote "His interest in the interaction between the urban and the untamed landscape demonstrates a sensitivity to nature's cycles and the problematic balance between technology and the earth's ecosystem. Klein finds that there is a plethora of amazing and provocative objects from both nature and the man-made world, and it is this abundance of nature's castoffs and discarded industrial objects that creates the physical, emotional, and conceptual content of his work.".
Lance Letscher's debut solo exhibition in New York - received with great excitement - was presented by Howard Scott in April 2002. Since then, he has exhibited with regularity in Houston, in his native city of Austin, Texas, and with Mr Scott in New York. In addition, he has had solo exhibitions in Munich (2003), two in Barcelona (the earlier in 2003-04), and Paris (2007). Recently, he participated in a two-artist exhibition with Fred Stonehouse in Berlin.
Ron Klein had an impressive solo exhibition at Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts in 2005-06, which led to his first solo exhibition with Howard Scott (Sep 2006). The forthcoming show with Mr Letscher will be the second appearance of his work at the gallery. The many awards and fellowships he has won include two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, a residency at La Napoule in France (funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts), and four Pollock/Krasner Foundation Fellowships.