Remembrance of things past

The past, of course, is never quite what we make it out to be. We filter it through our emotions and desires until it becomes the version of the story that suits our present time. We expand it, we shrink it, we repeat it over and over until we get it just right (left, “Leading and Being Led,” 40″ x 40″).
Noah Shem Klein at The More Gallery is telling himself stories of his past in paint and collaged computer prints from photos. The imagery is romantic and nostalgic, with hot red sunsets, twilight skies, trees silhouetted, a lace-pattern mandala against the sky–a better world. Finally, with help from the amazing computer, all of it is reduced and repeated in fractile versions of the same images, glued in patterns to the surface like bunches of cherries or stars in the sky or magic circles of light or even just loci in a grid (right, “Walnut Bottom Twilight,” 60″ x 60″ with a lace mandala that disintegrates in its center into some deeper reality, mimicking how the mind inscribes fragile lines on an empty sky).

But the pieces that pack the strongest punch are the small pieces (10″ x 10″) like “Pleiades” (left) covered with words and woven. The content of the text seems less important than the way it fills the square and marks movement. They are road maps and directions to some place of the mind. And they are hands on, full of the artist’s marks made in the present and in the past.

Klein’s colors are beautiful and believable as particular moments, (right, “Color in Evening,” also 10″ x 10″).

And several of the works (some as large as 20″ x 20″) include what look like reduced and photocopied pages of a notebook or journal. Sometimes the drawings and writing fall apart with a little help from the artist, until he reasserts them with the help of fine, drawn outlines. These paintings are multilayered and worked over with an intensity that makes the 40″ and 60″ works seem a little bare; some of them are victims of cyber-printing, which reduces things to a thin spray of dots.


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