02 May, 2008

Art & Critique

Casey Klahn

Casey Klahn

Casey Klahn

The arrival of a critique is a welcome thing for a working artist. Elijah Shifrin at Art & Critique has chosen to render a sensitive review of my abstracted landscapes.

In "Casey Klahn: How to Make Your Audience Weep," the critic sees some uncannily true aspects of my art that I haven't consciously voiced before. He seems to have nailed the elements of my landscapes in deep and psychological terms that unearth my artistic formative years.

How does Shifrin know that I grew up drawing hours and hours a day, in the land of the pouring rain? He writes:
...some of the pieces appear as if seen from behind a car’s front window when it’s raining. Objects (trees) look heavily smudged, lines break down and some areas of color appear to be still in the process of modulation. Second is the use of pure blue reminiscent of the sea; the patches of blue indeed bring to mind large bodies of water. And third is the thick, streaming down lines of the trees, resembling water pipes. All of these characteristics deal with water and raindrops in one way or another.

That large body of water was the Pacific Ocean, where I grew up in the land of giant conifers, and constant rain. The only rainforests in the lower forty-eight states, in fact, where my stomping grounds.

Much is made of the diffused and ambient lighting present in the works by artists of the Northwest School. Tobey, Callahan, Graves, et al. That love of gray, and the tendency to describe light without a direct source, or without cast shadows, has been my style as well. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, eh?


Anonymous said...


Thanks -- actually, I was planning to use the phrase "weeping willow" in the title. But then I looked at the trees once again... these are not willows! Still, the element of water is powerful and pervasive.

Great colors, great work.

Robyn Sinclair said...

I wish I'd said that! But at least I can agree. I wonder if I'd thought long and hard, would I too have seen the rain giving your beautiful paintings such liquidity. Now I can't view them without thinking it. What a lovely and satisfying post, Casey.

Casey Klahn said...

It's not every day that one gets to field comments from both Israel and Italy! What a rush. Thanks, Elish & Robyn.

I have had an inkling that nature/environment (little "e") plays a role in my content, but now I understand more about that.

Yes, the trees in Washington are the (world's record size) conifers: Doug Fir, Sitka Spruce, Hemlock and Western Red Cedar. Those are the western side of the state; eastern Washington has the White Pine, Lodgepole Pine, Ponderosa Pine, and Tamarack.

Casey Klahn said...

Since we're on the trees content, I'll mention that the vertical lines in my art are there also to create interest. The overwhelming horizontal themes of landscapes are too banal for my taste.

My aspect ratios are vertical, and my lines tend away from horizontal or diagonal.

Also, the idea is to reach heavenward.

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