I'm writing this so I can remember Susan Klein. Every day I see, read and hear of and about so many incredible and interesting things. Every day I learn of and about some interesting person — often three or four. And then I immediately forget it all. So, it occurs to me, one reason to write is to remember. And I want to remember Susan Klein.
Susan Klein's work came across my mind screen in the excellent four person group show at Crossing Collective called "Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast". It's a collection of kinda whimsical abstract art. Whimsical in terms of it's color palette mostly. Everything in the show is very likable but there is something about Klein's work that singles out my attention. I'm not sure I can yet explain what that is. I'm still processing, still "framing" it for myself. All thoughts that follow are tentative.
One. Her art makes me think of Philip Guston's later work. And I very much like this about it. Not the earlier work documented on her website but, rather, the stuff from 2016 onward. Which, of course, includes the pieces in the Crossing Collective show. It's not obviously like Guston. For one thing, many of the pieces are in a different medium, ceramics. For another, there are no Guston-like figures in her work. The closest thing to that is those fingers. No, what it is is the loose, sketch-like mark making that she adopts in 2016.
Two. If you look at the work Klein documents on her site, one of the stories it tells is a movement from something that is more precise and precious to something that is faster and more fun. Something that is more brittle to something that is more loose. It's a movement from what I want to call "the intellectual architectural" to something that is weird, psychological and slightly hallucinogenic.
Three. Are those things fingers, people, or penises?
Four. There is an aspect to Klein's work that makes me think Memphis-style design. A looser, less hard-edged version.