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“Through Sunset into the Raccoon Night”

New York artists create Metcalf’s exhibition

(Photograph by Mindy Wildman) Elizabeth Stehl Kleberg, Tal Gilboa and Matt Kleberg opened their exhibition by sharing their thoughts about their works.

(Photograph by Mindy Wildman) Elizabeth Stehl Kleberg, Tal Gilboa and Matt Kleberg opened their exhibition by sharing their thoughts about their works.

By Laura Koenig | Echo

There are no raccoons roaming this exhibition. Instead, oil paintings, projections, bent plexiglass and ringing bells fill Metcalf Gallery. Oil paintings displaying bold colors, straight lines and empty spaces cover the left side of the gallery while projections reflected off a variety of materials create movement on the right side. Both sides meet on the far wall with a transition piece: a projection shining on an oil painting to create the illusion of a three-dimensional space.

After traveling to Upland from their studios in New York, artists Matt Kleberg, Elizabeth Stehl Kleberg and Tal Gilboa started constructing “Through Sunset into the Raccoon Night,” an exhibition that derives its name from a short story by Barry Hannah, on Tuesday, Feb. 7. While consuming about 60 gallons of coffee a day—as Matt Kleberg joked—the three figured out how to display their different projects in a single room, keeping the lights bright enough to see the oil paintings yet dark enough to view the projections.

The opening reception and artist talks were held on Friday, Feb. 10. During this time, Matt Kleberg explained his oil paintings. He began by showing a painting he made in seventh grade. It was an album cover rendition of American rock singer Jimi Hendrix. Even though his art has morphed over time, the central iconic graphic quality of his paintings remain a foundational element of his work. Now, he removes the central element, leaving an empty space in its place.

“That central space became the subject of the paintings,” Matt Kleberg said at the talk. “That’s the mode I’ve been working in varying degrees for a couple years now. That space became the subject. I became interested in framing that space and creating a situation and creating a sense of expectation for that space without placing something in it and letting that expectant space carry the painting.”

While Matt Kleberg carves spaces in his oil paintings, Elizabeth Kleberg and Gilboa work with light and objects to create projections of bending and moving images. The two women met in graduate school at the Pratt Institute. With a professor’s encouragement, the two began creating art together.

The women started their portion of the artist talks by showing a piece of work featuring a polyphonic overtone singer, or someone who can sing two notes at the same time.

“We took that as a metaphor for how we work together,” Elizabeth Kleberg said. “Two people working on the same work. There are these two personalities or presences that act as one thing.”

The artists take their two distinct narratives and fuse them together to create a single, third narrative. They do this by bringing light and an object together to form a meeting point to create a new and animated reflection.

Assistant professor of art Suzie Dittenber met the artists this summer while staying in New York City for a conference. She invited them to come to Taylor for an exhibition.

Dittenber brought these artists to Taylor to emphasize artwork developed from relationships and friendships. Matt and Elizabeth Kleberg are married, and Gilboa is Elizabeth Kleberg’s good friend. These relationships demonstrate the value of people behind the creation of great art.

“These artists are taking basic ingredients that are somewhat quotidian or everyday and yet appropriating these things in a way that’s super playful, mysterious, magical and beautiful,” Dittenber said.

The exhibition will continue in Metcalf Gallery until Friday, March 3.

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