Art / Performance / Education
A musical analogy for Eric Kluin’s artwork would decidedly not be Jazz; he is admittedly non-improvisational.
Neither Classical nor Country, his work does share whispers of the rather strict formalities of those genres. Too white for hip hop; too dark for pop! Too clean and quiet for punk. He is scissors and glue in techno’s definition of cut and paste. His lyrics lack the earnestness of Folk; the stories he tells mostly consist of between-his-own-ears experiences. Pretty pictures with sabotaged subjects, like a shapely girl with legs three inches too short walking a goat on a leash. Imperfect grace and a strong beat; often at odds with even odder visual/verbal imagery.
His theme song?
“Mongoloid” by Devo; a great drumline, loose stringed guitars and words guaranteed to turn away most of the audience. Not necessarily offended, but toes stopped mid-tap by a squinting “wha?” Not quite “WTF”, more of a puddle of inappropriateness. Some people splash in those puddles; most prefer not to. Like the girl with the hypnotic waddle, most people will only see the goat.
An artist has choices: medium, technique, subjectivity, etc. For those who choose narrative, the subject becomes paramount. Does one strive for shared experiences that anyone, given the right circumstances, could have, or does one struggle to exhibit the world behind the eyelids?
Eric Kluin has chosen to try to out the inner. He recognizes the potential frustration, for both himself and the viewer, of trying to transfer the mental to the physical. Does the painting even come close to the vision, and can it be deciphered, let alone understood, by others?
The hand does not always speak Mind. True fluency in language is the ability to think in a second tongue, without overt translation, delay, or loss of intent. Kluin feels that a self-inflicted filter, perhaps a fear perceived of unacceptability and derision, edits the content. “Mongoloid, it’s just a Mongoloid…” A visually potent but subjectively incoherent statement: half-pregnant. But when it works, when the flow is acceptable from the head to the hand to the eyes of the audience, there’s a satisfied tingle felt by Erik Kluin and hopefully, the properly tweaked viewer. Better yet if the good ones are rather inappropriate.
Eric Kluin hails from Ann Arbor, Michigan where he graduated with a BFA from the University of Michigan. He relocated to Boston in 1989 and has been a fixture in the local art scene since. His work has been widely exhibited in Provincetown, Boston and NYC. His affiliation with Gallery East dates back to a 2003 show at the A Space Gallery in NYC where the gallery was fortunate enough to have purchased the whole exhibit of ‘Morphs’ for its private collection.