Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Art Event: Karley Klopfenstein

Karley Klopfenstein had an exhibition at our school (St. Mary's College of Maryland) on October 25 in the Boyden Art Gallery in Montgomery Hall. She currently lives in South Florida and is interested in the way that violence, horror, and war make their way subtly into the comfort of our everyday lives. She got her undergraduate degree in Sociology, Anthropology, and Fine Art at our very own school in 1997. Even though she specializes in sculpture, Klopfenstein also studied photography, printmaking, and philosophy. Klopfenstein's body of work focuses on specific American military weaponry turning domestic with traditional craft techniques. Her work is influenced by the mass media representation and exploitation of fear and military culture. She went to graduate school for sculpture at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. It is funny how she and my father both went to the same graduate school for art and majored in the same thing with a sculpture focus. She is the former Director of Exhibitions for Sculpture Key West, an internationally recognized outdoor sculpture exhibition. Karley Klopfenstein has many skills such as knitting, crocheting, marcramé, weaving, and so much more. For some background on craft techniques, it used to appear in contemporary art as being political. The feminist movement in the 1960s took traditional “women’s” art and empowered it in defiance of the dominant simple materials and forms of that era. Karley Klopfenstein uses this through her pieces by putting stereotypically male and female imagery together creating a dark humor. I really enjoy her work because she makes such serious machinery so comical through her art and in a way; she changes the negative connotations of these dangerous objects. I was very impressed with her half-scale M1 Abrams Military Tank covered in hand-made carpet. An almost life-sized war tank turned from scary and lethal to something soft and harmless.

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