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Kitty Klaidman
"Salt Spring Island: Beneath the Surface"
An Exhibition of New Paintings
December 10 - January 28, 2012
reception for the artist- Saturday, December 10, 4:00 to 6:00 PM


                                                       #18, 2010
                                                       mixed media on wood panel
                                                       16 x 15.75 inches

#25, 2011
mixed media on wood panel
19.5 x 21.75 inches

#22, 2011
mixed media on wood panel
23.75 x 23 inches

Press Release

New abstract painting by Washington artist
Kitty Klaidman is featured in the artist's fourth solo exhibition at the Marsha Mateyka Gallery.  These colorful, organic abstractions were inspired by the pristine environment of Salt Spring Island, near Vancouver Island in British Columbia.  
"Beneath the Surface" describes the rich visual offering of the island, especially the surface textures on rocks, trees, ground and water.  The artist has translated this experience into transparent layers of acrylic color with thick medium, incised branching lines, and wet on wet painting in either singular panels, diptych, triptych or quartet compositions.

Landscape has been a recurring theme in the artist's work.  Earlier series included idyllic scenes of marshland in Spain, the woods haunting the memories of her family’s escape during the Holocaust in Czechoslovakia, and the shifting tidal scenes near WWII wreckage off the Normandy coast.

Born in Czechoslovakia, a resident of Israel, France, Spain, Italy and both coasts of the United States, Kitty Klaidman states,

"It is literally true that I have lost count of the number of places I have lived.  In the course of these moves, I’ve changed language five times.  One result of this peripatetic existence is that, of necessity, I’ve become a close observer of my surroundings.  Since I began drawing even before I began relocating—and never stopped—it makes sense that wherever I am I find subject matter in my physical environment.  During a summer in Normandy, I painted the detritus of war that still litters the beaches.  While at the American Academy in Rome, I painted the levels of history layered in the city’s walls.  My current work abstracts the richly textured surfaces and sub-surfaces that captured my imagination on Salt Spring Island off the west coast of Canada.  I chose to work on wood in mixed media because it seemed appropriate to the subject matter and to execute the larger pieces on multiple panels to reproduce a tension I felt between natural objects on the island.  My goal in this as in all my work was to capture the feeling of my subjects and communicate it".

Kitty Klaidman's work has been the subject of solo gallery exhibitions in Washington, New York and Paris.  She was honored in 2003 with a retrospective of her work at The Embassy of the Slovak Republic in Washington, DC.  Her work has also been included in two important traveling museum exhibitions: “Witness and Legacy” (including DeCordova Art Museum, Tucson Art Museum, The Telfair Museum, The Blaffer Gallery, Houston) and "After Auschwitz: Responses to the Holocaust in Contemporary Art" (including Royal Festival Hall/London, Edinburgh City Art Center, Kulturhaus Atles Rathaus/Potsdam).

#24, 2011
quartet, mixed media on wood panel
32.5 x 64.5 inches

                                    #30, 2011
                                    quartet, mixed media on wood panel
                                    48 x 32.5 inches

#31, 2011
diptych, mixed media on wood panel
32.25 x 32.25 inches

#28, 2011
diptych, mixed media on wood panel
17.5 x 35 inches

#32, 2011
diptych, mixed media on wood panel
48.25 x 43 inches

#15, 2010
triptych, mixed media on wood panel
27 x 42 inches

                           #9, 2010
                           triptych, mixed media on wood panel
                           24 x 22 inches

#14, 2010
triptych, mixed media on wood panel
23.5 x 46 inches

#29, 2011
quartet, mixed media on wood panel
32.5 x 64.5 inches

#13, 2010
quartet, mixed media on wood panel
32 x 66 inches

                                                                                          Available works by Kitty Klaidman


"Natural Inspiration, Abstract Imagination"
Klaidman and Kaupp go beyond simple sea and sky in two D.C. shows

The Washington Post, Galleries C8
Friday, January 6, 2012
by Mark Jenkins

With the rise of abstract painting, landscapes went out of favor.  But that doesn't mean they went away.  Whether intentionally or not, the compositions of many abstract canvases evoked landscapes, and some artists intentionally suggested that their work represented, however loosely, traditional views of land, water and sky.  One example: The title of the best-known painting by color-field pioneer Helen Frankenthaler, who died Dec. 27, is "Mountains and Sea".

These days, many abstractionists are open about inspiration provided by natural vistas. Kitty Klaidman and Tati Kaupp, whose current shows are in galleries on the same Dupont Circle block, go so far as to identify the regions that informed their latest creations.  Yet the paintings' concerns are largely formal; like the first wave of Abstract Expressionists, Klaidman and Kaupp are constructing their own visual vocabularies, not simply executing cryptic variations on traditional landscapes.

A Czech-born painter who made many European stops on her way to making the District her home, Klaidman has been refining her style since the abstract Expressionism era; the first show listed on her resume was in 1966.  She's still exploring.  The paintings in "Salt Spring Island: Beneath the Surface" were sparked by a visit to that isle, an artists' haven off the coast of mainland British Columbia.  The trip was probably in the fall, since these pictures emphasize autumnal reds and oranges over the green and blue usually associated with the Pacific Northwest.  Klaidman writes that the paintings "abstract the richly textured surfaces and sub-surfaces that captured my imagination," an approach that echoes her earlier series.

All the works are mixed media on wood, and most feature multiple panels.  Klaidman applied areas of pigment, then incised them to create patterns that generally complement, but occasionally contrast with, the painted forms.  The wet-on-wet painting gives the image a liquid quality, which is amplified by glazes that provide a ceramic-like sheen.  The scrapings are generally circular, adding to the sense of natural forms.  But a few of the panels, all of which are identified only by number, are vigorously crosshatched with roughly straight lines and thus look more fierce.  They're "action paintings," although with a more refined skin than the 1950s canvases once called that.  Klaidman has made multi-panel works in the past, but the "Salt Spring Island" paintings are divided more dramatically, with a tension between the sections.  While some of the two-, three- or four-part works merely segment a unified image, others create a focus exactly where the panels meet.  These pictures don't just gaze beneath the surface; they stare right into the gaps between things, using slices of nothingness to framed their vivid hues and movements.

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