Defying limitation

Maine artist Deborah Klotz 'traces' her process
By EDWIGE CHARLOT  |  January 23, 2014


Deborah Klotz manipulates her materials in exciting

Featuring more than 40 works ranging from prints to sculptures, Maine artist Deborah Klotz debuts a strong body of work at the Maine Jewish Museum this month. In this fresh and thoughtful exhibit, Klotz marries traditionally flexible and inflexible materials to suggest the concepts of connection and awareness. She not only pushes materials to their limits but in fact defies those limitations. In a short interview, Klotz revealed her ambitious desire to do things like “control rust... and make sculptures by building air.” Two years in the making, these resourceful explorations and inquires by Klotz are a delight to engage with.

Klotz, an educator, mother, image-maker, and sculptor who received her MFA from the Massachusetts College of Art in three-dimensional sculpture, builds up surfaces and forms using handmade paper, steel, iron, cement, glass, chains, fabric, ink, and plaster. Although she employs a variety of materials it is difficult to reduce Klotz’s work to ‘mixed media.’ In her practice, Klotz notes that she does not favor any one material or process, or make any one “more precious than another.” Klotz unconventionally blends printmaking, papermaking, drawing, and sculpture. Unlike artists who restrict themselves to one discipline or few materials, Klotz seems to be more captivated by the relationships between processes.

“Expansion with Compression B” illustrates how she exploits her materials. This stationery sculpture sits on a printed piece of aluminum plate; the plasma-cut steel base holds swirls of interwoven pieces of casted, extruded paper and small sections of handmade paper. The steel and cast paper lean and drape on top of one another, like a net or sail frozen mid-frame. The swirling gesture of the three-dimensional form almost seems to mirror the entangled gesture of the rust color print below. Upon more investigation of the piece, it is as if the magnetically charged silkscreen print is breaking its own two- dimensional plane as it spills and coils upwards. Klotz selects these specific materials for the purpose of reimagining them to express her ideas. This curious feat of construction is how Klotz first grabbed my attention.

As one moves through the exhibit more is revealed. In “Traces,” Klotz shares a body of work centered on meditation and awareness. Gestures become familiar and images repeat, sometimes reappearing as a variation of the original, tucked in between or hidden below components. Klotz describes this as “shared genealogy,” where each piece is part of the same family. You can sense the influence of one piece on the next; individual pieces lead from one to the other. As a viewer you are drawn into an investigation rather than quick scan. Klotz lays out a path, a passage into what she calls “the quiet trails and meanderings of thought and curiosity.”

One of the sweetest moments of the exhibition is her “Traces” series, made up of mostly prints, which provides an opportunity to peer into her research and development stage. From the embossed handmade paper to the silkscreen filled with magnetically charged filings nothing in Klotz’s path goes to waste. Every print, drawing, and structure is informative, influencing the next creation. The prints in “Traces” are like swatches of information. Each print reveals an answer to an inquiry, a product of a process. If Klotz’s ideas are Point A and her sculptures are Point X, these prints are all the points in between. This is where the viewer obtains a visual explanation of how she camouflages paper into steel covered in rust. The textural and structural elements of “Expansion with A” and “B” are a visible part of the series.

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  •   DEFYING LIMITATION  |  January 23, 2014
    Featuring more than 40 works ranging from prints to sculptures, Maine artist Deborah Klotz debuts a strong body of work at the Maine Jewish Museum this month.
    Whether you view Luc Demers’s new show, “Moonlit,” up close or from afar, his nocturnal exploration offers an intimate experience of your very own making.

 See all articles by: EDWIGE CHARLOT