Hedy Klineman’s Ancestral Spirits, African-American Portraits, is a solo exhibition of more than twenty paintings from two series on view at Smart Clothes Gallery through December 20th, 2013.
The genesis of the African-American Portraits is framed by two significant events. In the eighties, Andy Warhol presented Klineman with a pair of his glasses, which she would incorporate into one of her “Fashion Portraits,” marking her first use of the silkscreen technique. Donning the eye-wear, she exclaimed that she ‘saw the world Andy sees.’ Years later, she received an African mask on her birthday. Instinctively, she put it on, repeating the gesture in a silkscreened self-portrait. These gifts and their presentation echo a kind of ceremony, and their performance would give Klineman new perspective on her art.
Since then, Klineman has been commissioned to create portraits for some of the most eminent members of the African-American cultural community, including Russell and Danny Simmons, Mary Schmidt Campbell, dance choreographer Bill T. Jones and actor Malik Yoba. Her choice of masks reflects a sensitivity to the cultural significance of these objects and their innate beauty. Ancestry is reawakened through the masquerade of photographic superimposition. The earlier sister series, Ancestral Spirits, is a celebration of indigenous sculpture in the tradition of modern art’s fascination with these objects.
If these paintings are in the mode of Pop icons, Hedy Klineman’s spiritual counter-narrative for the process is entirely her own. Employing an understanding of essence influenced by Eastern philosophy, her silkscreened paintings hold the presence of their subjects within. Coupled with colorful grounds that relate to the artist’s history as an abstract painter,
Ancestral Spirits, African-American Portraits is a celebration of ancestry and community.
Hedy Klineman’s Ancestral Spirits, African-American Portraits will be on Exhibit Through December 20th, 2013 at Smart Clothes Gallery, located 154 Stanton Street (Corner of Suffolk St), New York, NY 10012. Hours are 12:00 Noon To 6:00 PM
Wednesday to Sunday.