LewAllen at the Santa Fe Railyard presents an unlikely pairing for a duo exhibition, since aesthetically, Veruska Vagen and Steve Klein could not appear more dissimilar. On one hand, you have intricately composed renditions of portraits by the masters, made of twice-kiln cast glass in a deeply involved process called “dot a verre.” And then there is what appears to be the definition of abstract sculpture. Shape, color, and design fused together in a way that appears fluid, int. Each artist presents a body of new work in a show titled “Homage” which runs through Sunday, August 26th.
While Vagen and Klein present their notions of “homage” in vastly different ways, they draw on much of the same inspiration for creation. Klein refers to the artists Piet Mondrian, Kazimir Malevich, and Hans Hofmann in his architectural and riotously colored sculptures. Klein describes the conceptual nature of his work as such: “In life, there are moments that require compromise, resolution and action to create balance. I am challenged by that act of balancing and this is what my work addresses.” Knowing this, it is more than evident in his pieces that set a starkly cylindrical form atop a base with quilted color and and unsteady form.
In contrast, Vagen’s portraits are replicas of works by masters such as Van Gogh, Waterhouse and Klimt. “Dot a verre,” the technique used to recreate the pieces, involves painstakingly applying 3-milimeter wide glass beads to a glass backing with a forgiving adhesive row by row. These are then kiln-fired on low heat—the temperature activates the adhesive without melting the beads or distorting their shape. The result is a combination of mosaic, pointillism, and portraiture.
While each artist’s aesthetic utilizes a highly specific form, the joint exhibition provides a refreshing variation in styles that showcases the wide possibilities in the material.
-Katharine MoralesIF YOU GO:
Veruska Vagen and Steve Klein
Through August 26, 2012
LewAllen Galleries at the Railyard
1613 Paseo de Peralta
Santa Fe, NM 87501