October 12 – November 11, 2012
Storefront Bushwick presents the work of KK Kozik and Wendy Klemperer, two artists whose work explores different aspects of representation.
The paintings of KK Kozik are strange, yet familiar. Through uncanny juxtapositions and tightly-constructed scenarios, the artist reconfigures everyday surroundings into dream-like tableaux that lead us to question our memories, myths, and identities. The works depict interiors replete with the trappings of sophisticated urban life and landscapes that recall carefree youth. With an omnibus reach, the artist references popular and folk culture, literature, fairy tales, and the history of art in a high-wire juggling act that mixes the prosaic with the sublime. In Kozik’s paintings, elements are rearranged to create a surprising new world where the exotic and the everyday appear side by side in a manner that recalls surrealism but whose unique voice is ultimately sui generis.
Technically masterful, beautifully painted and composed, the paintings entertain, delight, and amuse while retaining a powerful mystery. The work is knowing and smart, inviting us to examine its secrets while giving nothing away. Like the image she repeats in her work of the hand that holds a cigarette from behind a curtained window, KK Kozik’s work beckons us to explore a world unseen. As viewers we are participants in a narrative whose explanation is just out of reach.
The artist writes of her work and process: “What differentiates this new body of work from past work is that my sources of inspiration and way of working have changed. While my paintings are regularly impelled by a subconscious urgency whose meaning is often initially opaque, this work has stepped out of the shadows and now explicitly addresses my experiences, surroundings, and worldview with the hope that it will ring true to others. My new stated goal of making mesmerizing paintings is parallel to the Caspar David Friedrich motif of the mesmerized figure. It’s a Chinese box effect as I have become more mesmerized myself. I am more involved in looking at and reacting to the painting than in realizing what is in my mind’s eye.”
KK Kozik divides her time between Brooklyn, NY, and Sharon, Connecticut. She has exhibited extensively in New York, most recently at Black & White Gallery in Chelsea. Her work has been featured in numerous solo and group shows throughout the United States and abroad, notably in “Open House” at the Brooklyn Museum. She recently collaborated with poet and critic Barry Schwabsky on a series of four-color etchings published by VanDeb Editions, one of which was the recipient of the Magnesium Elecktron Prize at the 2009 North American Print Biennial. Kozik recently completed a large public art commission for New York’s MTA Arts for Transit, two large stained glass windows for the Rockaway Park/Beach 116th Street subway station. Residencies and fellowship awards include the Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation, a BCAT Multimedia Fellowship, an Artist Fellowship at Weir Farm in Connecticut, and an artist residency at Hofstra University. Her work has been reviewed in the New York Times, Artforum, Art in America, Artnews, Time Out New York, the New Yorker, and Artnet.
Wendy Klemperer‘s lifelong fascination with animals drives an ongoing study of their action and behavior in photos, in film, and in actual life. While primarily known for large scale, outdoor installations of gestural animal forms sketched in welded steel, Klemperer’s exhibition at Storefront Bushwick reveals another aspect of her work–small wax and resin sculptures. Related to the plastic toys that acted in her childhood dramas, these pieces explore gesture and emotion on an intimate scale.
The artist is attracted to the lifelike texture of wax because of its complexity and beauty. Layered colors and subtle textures build the form and explore the painterly side of sculpture. The surface is a living skin, with varied thicknesses, pierced and broken here and there, allowing glimpses of the interior. After much trial and error, Klemperer developed a process that allowed her to preserve this delicate medium, melting white microcrystalline wax in a pot and adding paint, then pouring out thin sheets to create a palette of different colors. The artist models the wax at room temperature like clay, building it hollow in colored layers over a simple wire armature. Using a propane torch to heat basic tools (a spoon, a butter knife), Klemperer carves and melts the surface and blends colors. When finished, the surface is brushed with a clear urethane resin for a hard, protective coating. While based on a knowledge of animal anatomy, the work evolves beyond naturalism as the artist uses three-dimensional color to work at the intersection of painting and sculpture.
Wendy Klemperer earned a bachelor’s in biochemistry at Harvard before moving to NYC to pursue art full time, earning a B.F.A. in sculpture at Pratt Institute in 1983. She has received residency grants from the Skowhegan School, The MacDowell Colony, The Ucross Foundation, and Sculpture Space in Utica, NY. Her work has been exhibited extensively in NYC and throughout the United States, including installations at Socrates Sculpture Park, Queens, NY; Bridgewater-Lustberg Gallery, NY, NY; Pratt Institute Sculpture Park, Brooklyn, NY; DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Lincoln, MA; Southern Vermont Arts Center, Manchester, VT; as well as comprehensive solo shows at Maine Audubon, Freeport, and Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, Boothbay, organized by June LaCombe. Her large scale, permanent installations include: Portland International Jetport, ME; 560 Broadway in NYC; Lay Sculpture Park in Missouri; Somersby Landing Sculpture Park in Newburyport, MA; California State University, Bakersfield; Coastal Maine Botanic Gardens, Boothbay; the LL Bean Company, Freeport, Maine; and SIAS University, Xinzheng, China. Klemperer teaches welded sculpture at 3rd Ward in Brooklyn, NY, and at the Carving Studio and Sculpture Ctr in West Rutland, VT. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, and Nelson, NH.