Explorer Ron Klein creates magic

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When we were in town for the art fairs, Cate and I made a stop at Howard Scott Gallery for the opening of my friend  Ron Klein‘s show of new work.   Ron is a trained artist and long-time respected teacher, but he’s also a self-taught explorer and anthropologist whose trips to the Amazon, Madagascar, Myanmar and elsewhere fuel his nature-rich and human-focused art.

Ron Klein, installation shot from Out of Gravity at Howard Scott Gallery

Like Audubon going into the wilds to discover the species of North America, Klein is intrepid and something of an Enlightenment man with a need to study first-hand those far off territories and peoples.  While he hasn’t shown them yet, Klein has been taking video footage of the tribal elders he encounters on his trips, asking each one questions about their culture and beliefs (e.g. where do you go when you die? what happens when there is a dispute over land or possessions?).

Ron Klein, Out of Gravity, detail

The artist and his family (yes, it’s a family enterprise — and these are not Club Med trips) recently went to Puerto Rico and to the equatorial region of Latin America (Ecuador/Peru) where they spent time with native people and collected the seed pods, vines and other forest floor materials for Ron’s art.

Ron Klein, work in the Out of Gravity show

You can see from the show that the artist makes the unruly ruly, coupling the natural material with scraps of industrial material he scavenges or finds at flea markets. Pinned to the walls,  Klein’s works are controlled explosions of energy and matter.

Ron Klein, work installed in the lobby of the Time Equities Building in lower Manhattan. That's a video on the left of Klein showing him collecting the natural material he uses.

Like a scientist, Klein steps back from his material presenting the coupled porcupine quills and baseballs in ways to be studied as well as appreciated aesthetically.  His art reflects a fascination with what exists within reach and what can only be imagined. Out of Gravity is up until April 3.

Tags

howard scott gallery, out of gravity, ron klein

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