Oakville Galleries in Gairloch Gardens
The work of Montreal-based artist Chris Kline reflects on the history of painting—modernist abstraction, in particular—while offering a unique take on the medium's formal and material vocabulary. Whether stretching chromatic variations of delicate fabric over a wooden support or painting nominal bands of nuanced colour on translucent poplin, Kline's works are consistently pared down to an economical visual language, foregrounding the materiality and underlying structure of each work.
In Kline's painting, colour is used much like the Colour Field artists of the 1960s, in which paint was often spread across or stained into the canvas to create areas of unbroken surface and a flat picture plane. Yet, the precision of Kline's craft draws us beyond the picture plane and into the space behind—the edges and boundaries of wooden supports and the hollow spaces created by them. Treating his paintings in this way, Kline leads us to ask: object or illusion? painting or sculpture? foreground or background?
Space and surface, light and shadow fluidly meld in his works. In one series, a band of colour bisects the paintings to suggest a horizon line. In another, subtle chromatic variations between works stand in for the slow shift of light across space. Indeed, Kline's use of such a constrained syntax addresses the limits of our mental and visual perception. Seen in the context of Oakville Galleries in Gairloch Gardens, this focus on the limits of vision is resonant not only with the expansive horizon of Lake Ontario, but also the perceptual variables of atmosphere, weather and light.