Classically trained, Kline’s practice went from the figurative to abstraction, evoking natural and man-made motifs infusing cultural and historical notions. As Kline developed his ideas he began to explore with encaustic -- mixing pigment with beeswax. With this malleable material, his paintings were able to take on an exaggerated three-dimensionality not normally found in painting. His earlier works in the show are vibrant feasts of color that make for visually engaging paintings referencing nature. They are so heavily textured they become sculptural and tease the viewer’s senses with their tactile qualities.
Kline’s explorations between two and three dimensional forms took him to cast a selection paintings and other objects into metal. At what point do the works stop being paintings and become sculptures is a question he keeps posing. The exhibition will include sculptures in bronze and steel that reflect this preoccupation and blur the line of distinction between the two mediums.
Also on view is a selection of his most recent body of work, the all-white paintings entitled Tabula Rasa, or “blank slate.” Created on linen, Kline approaches the encaustic differently from his works on panel, allowing it to seep through the canvas on the reverse. While more serene than the earlier structured paintings, these newly orchestrated works rely, to a greater extent, on randomness and chance. Kline’s ongoing interest in the physical properties of the encaustic material led him to these fluid and intricate surfaces where the hand of the artist is less evident.
Martin Kline has had a prolific career having been the subject of numerous solo and group exhibitions. His work is in many notable private and public collections including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Whitney Museum of Art and the Houston Museum of Fine Arts.