Catalogue Essay

Cheryl Kline asked herself, ”How can I possibly channel this raw, insatiable passion of mine that is fed by daily doses of being able to create art?” The Oracles answered, ”Use your body as a brush. Role yourself in paint and become the painting.”

In her DANCING ORACLES series, Kline uses her body to achieve stunning psychological effects. Applying paint to her nude body, she places herself onto a painted surface. Affecting a variety of posses, she follows the impulses of her mind to release innate energies. Hence, her physical body becomes the primary vehicle for expression. By continuing to work the surfaces, she allows her creativity to explode into visions previously undivined.

As in IN LIGHT OF RHAPSODY, figures pulsate with life. They dance and float like sacred earth goddesses from a mythic past. Ritually ascending and transforming, they evolve and metamorphose into strong physical presences.

By adding a projective dimension, Kline expands the sensation of pictorial space. Figures evolve as spiritual mysteries, offering multiple exposures about the nature of the individual. . . fragmentary and not totally resolved. Physically grounded to the earth, their spirits soar on wings. . . a magical rite of passage as they connect to the universe.

Filtered through Kline’s consciousness, these transitory figures take the artist and viewer on an emotional journey. They emerge from dark shadows, metaphorical escapees from what Jung refers to as the “dark side” of our psyche.

In JUNG’S SHADOW, the dark side is brought to the foreground. The affects are achieved through the skillful manipulation of light and shadow. . . dramatic Chiaroscuro renderings in the vein of Leonardo Di Vinci and Caravaggio.

The addition of metallic paints evoke a numinous glow, further intensifying iconic significance.
In SHROUD, Kline varied her process by wrapping her painted body in fine linen. The linen was then attached to a wooden board where she continued to layer and distress the surfaces. The resultant image resembles an aged skeletal imprint, like a discovered remnant from the past. Dense layering adds to a visual mystique between figure and ground, conjuring a pentimento transude from ancient civilizations
In a series of inventive monopriints, Kline uses a form of psychic automatism by placing body parts directly on the plates. Attracted to the immediacy and sensuousness of a median that offers a special quality of unexpectedness, unique accidents lured her into areas not anticipated.

In the spirit of mystic expressionists, the structure and tone of figurative and abstract elements act as an under painting for subtle added nuances. Here again Kline uses gradations of light and shadow. Elements are simultaneously veiled and revealed, like fugitive states of the soul. Imbued with muted harmonies, the works evoke the fluid elegance of Oriental ink painting.

Kline’s richly layered surfaces and subtle color harmonies are rooted in Renaissance aesthetics, the result of intensive classical studies. She studied old masters at the Atelier of Jan Saether at the Bruchion School of Realist Art in Los Angeles. She then attended the Florence Academy of Art in Florence, Italy where she studied figurative classical art.

Her studies are reflective in her blending of deep earth tones with blues, reds, oranges and yellows. The chromatic buildup, fused with layers of glazes, imbue her works with a romantic old world aura.
Kline taps into personal power as well as women’s collective power. Historically, women artists used their bodies as a means of connecting to the earth. In her use of her body as an instrument for creativity, Kline reaches beyond empirical connotations.

Skirting obvious and superficial appearances, Kline’s artworks invoke magical rites of transcendency. . .a way of gaining access to the unconscious. Literally exposing body and soul naked, she invites an understanding of ourselves as transitory and variform human beings.

Elenore Welles, Los Angeles Art Critic