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David Klamen at Richard Gray Gallery

by Claire Lynch

David Klamen, Untitled, 2009. Image courtesy of the artist and Richard Gray Gallery.

David Klamen’s Painting Paintings make an interesting observation about the art of display. His execution is exceptional, taking a second only to his thoughtful selection of other masters’ paintings. De Stijl and chiaroscuro achieve a different relevance when shown in the same room. However, the undeniable genius in this show has less to do with Klamen’s oils, think tanks hung ominously and lit to perfection, than with the location of the show.

David Klamen, Aristotle Contemplating a Bust of Homer, 2009. Image courtesy of the artist and Richard Gray Gallery.

Much like a party more famed for its venue than guest list, this particular exhibition achieved a Kubrick sensation. No one would expect less from Gray, however, considering his space sets the highest standard for gallerists in Chicago and New York. The art here is a joke. An artfully comedic commentary on Gray’s gallery. An unanswered question remains, however, as to whether Klamen or Gray first belly-laughed at the perfect marriage of this artist, doing this show, at this space. Elsewhere, it could never have been this funny or quite this good.

Image courtesy of the artist and Richard Gray Gallery.

Richard Gray is museum-like, deeming Klamen’s perspective on painting even more poignant. In these works, Klamen forces deja vu on the viewer, as they take in “Aristotle Contemplating a Bust of Homer” (2009), for instance.

This rendering is exceptionally realistic, both in the painting and the painting of the painting. And as you stand before it, breathing in Richard Gray’s elusive air, you will wonder if there is any better way to voyeur than to actually get the joke.

David Klamen’s Painting Paintings is on exhibition at Richard Gray Gallery through April 3, 2010.