Untitled (Dead Bird)
ink, watercolor, graphite on paper
15.9 x 22.9cm
Shoplifting images from art history, John Klecknerâ€™s drawings subscribe to a complex relationship between authorship, contemporary art, and its lineage. Rejecting post-modern notions of appropriation as allegory, Kleckner engages in the old mastersâ€™ tradition of studying his predecessors â€“ not as a means of perfecting technique â€“ but to satiate his desire to infiltrate and possess the immaculate. Attracted to the timeless subject matter of portraiture, mythology, and botanical motifs, Kleckner recomposes archival prints and paintings as a way to make them his own.
Through Klecknerâ€™s reconsideration, his subjects are edited or embellished to reflect his own designs and style: complications are simplified, backgrounds omitted, and are figures adapted to respond to â€˜off screenâ€™ actions. Illustrated with painstaking intricacy, Kleckner embraces â€˜drawing for drawingâ€™s sakeâ€™. His process of ultra fine pen and watercolour on paper often propels his images into unexpected directions.
Combining the hard-edge of illustration with the delicate washes of watercolour, Klecknerâ€™s work attains a literary mannerism reminiscent of the Pre-Raphaelites. Klecknerâ€™s beauty, however, is an uncomfortable entity. Gravitating between abstraction and figuration, his subjects are often disembodied or marred, their grotesque depictions diffusing into bursts of luscious mark-making.