Show Of The Week: DAVID KLAMEN: Index, Icon, Margin – An Exclusive ARTSY Online Exhibition 

David Klamen
Untitled, 2005
Watercolor on Paper
10 1/2 × 16 1/2 in / 26.7 × 41.9 cm

DAVID KLAMEN: Index, Icon, Margin – An Exclusive ARTSY Online Exhibition from @MMooreGallery


David Klamen (American, b.1961) is a contemporary painter whose work grows in conjunction with his interest in philosophy and scholarship, centralized around the questions,”How do I know what I know?” and “How do I know myself?” Klamen paints figuratively and abstractly, sometimes combining the two by incorporating geometric lines or patterns atop his high finished landscapes. His current paintings test epistemological strategies as diverse as OP Art (and its implication that knowledge may be a purely retinal experience), empiricism (the idea that the sole source of knowledge is direct quantifiable experience), introspection, and others. In this investigation, Klamen plays with the history of art, utilizing modern and pre-modern conventions as metaphors for our communal search for meaning.

“David Klamen brings us to the ambiguous edges of various systems of signs. Inspired by the ideas of Charles Saunders Peirce, he examines the way watercolor and ink can both iconically depict a landscape, tree, or merely space, and indexically record the touch of the brush and the bleeding of ink on paper. In this body of work, sets of images refer to landscapes, barcodes, and art history, particularly op-art, color-field, and nineteenth century painting. In the cross-referencing of these sets, we recognize the complex, coded language of painting, for example, the precise denotation of the barcode flirts with the highly modernist, non-objective stripes. The conventions of landscape painting, another older language, are seen as patterns too, codes for us to scan. While we contemplate these signs, we notice the sense of touch in them, their tactility, their physical presence. Perhaps this is ultimately their connective and communicative power”. – Timothy van Laar (author / art critic / historian)

Klamen earned his Bachelor’s of Fine Arts at the University of Illinois, Champaign/Urbana in 1983 and his Master’s of Fine Arts in Painting at the School of the Art Institute in 1985. He is currently is a Professor of Fine Arts at Indiana University Northwest. Klamen is represented in the following public collections (to name but a few): Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Chazen Museum of Art, Madison, Wisconsin; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York;  Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Krannert Art Museum, Champaign, Illinois; National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, Korea; The Searle Collection of Contemporary Art, Chicago; University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois; Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, California; McNay Art Museum, San Antonio; Elmhurst Art Museum; and the Berkeley Art Museum.

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