Skip to main content

This is your Donation message.

Christina Klein MFA Graduating Artist 2017

Published March 15, 2017


Painting 2


Once the curtain is drawn to enter my studio, you are immediately
greeted with piles of raw wood, lumber, window frames, paint, paper,
photos and stacks of materials that I just cannot seem to part with.
Tiptoeing through the rubble gives guests a glimpse into my mind, filled
with images of the abandoned houses and barns from rural Kansas that
inspire me.

My visits to these forgotten structures has become ritualistic, almost a
pilgrimage that I need to make in order to create. Being able to visit
places so full of history and decay is the biggest part of my research
and could not be done by studying photographs alone. Each location has
its own story about the collapse of a way of life. The end of an era.
These ideas come into play with my work using disjointed imagery in an
attempt to capture the tragic beauty of these deserted locations.

I have started recording interviews of neighbors, describing life in the
Midwest to preserve these memories before they become lost in time. This
helps inform a body of work that includes not only my voice, but those
in the community that inspired me. Although my work is inspired by my
Midwest community, it deals with issues that are universal.

My process subconsciously involves creating the same sort of chaos that
inspires me. Every time I enter my work space, piles move and shift as
my ideas change, much like a 3D sketchbook, helping me create from the
debris. The result of my studio disasters are paintings focusing on
fragmented architectural forms that are neither rising, nor falling, but
revolving around the surface of the painting.

Materiality is an also important aspect of my work. Although my
paintings are occasionally supplemented with traditional materials, I am
most confident making canvases from old tablecloths and frames from
salvaged wood. Supplies that have a history of their own, which can be
utilize in the creation process. Artifacts from collapsed barns show
tangible evidence of evolving rural landscapes. I have collected and
milled wood from trees that were bulldozed for development, striving to
use recycled materials before buying new. I try to weave these materials
into my projects, much like the brushstrokes that make up the imagery
itself. Finding reclaimed materials to work with is an important aspect
of my work, also acting as a meditative process that is the source of
inspiration for my new projects.

The creation of my current series is the culmination of my emotional
connection to the subject matter I am researching. Each brush stroke and
piece of wood has a history originating from its initial inspiration. My
goal is to create immersive work that forges an emotional connection
with the audience, allowing them to become engaged in the work and offer
their own interpretations based on their previous life experiences.
Although my work is inspired by my Midwest community, it deals with
issues that are universal.