Eben A. Kling

Humanoids

An installation presented as a culmination of my study at the end of a year long residency at Artspace, New Haven. (2017)


"hu·man·oid


noun (especially in science fiction) a being resembling a human in its shape.


Artspace is pleased to present Humanoids, an exhibition of paintings and drawings by Eben Kling (Artspace’s 2015-16 Artist-in-Residence) produced over the course of his 12-month residency. The new work follows Kling into unruly and bizarre pockets of working class middle America to identify that which makes us “human”. As in previous works, Kling unearths a menagerie of tragic-comedic characters who are entangled in acts of debauchery and negligence.


These works embrace the color, style and humor of Kling’s historic influences, including Chicago Imagists Peter Saul and Jim Nutt, The New York School painters Willem de Kooning and Philip Guston, and outsider artist/cartoonist R. Crumb. Like his influences, Kling approaches painting as an arena of interchangeable high and low art forms. At its basic level, his topsy-turvy landscapes question the ideology of a universal experience or collective consciousness.


One of the most striking aspects of this new work is the appearance of a black field with small white polka dots. Nothing bordering this field is safe—the black creeps atop figures and shrinks behind landscapes. This leitmotif might be read as a number of things– deep space, virtual space, digital space, non-space, surface pattern, or what Kling terms a “celestial patchwork”.


- Sarah Fritchey