San Francisco

Pat Klein, “Natural Disasters”

Stephen Wirtz Gallery

Pat Klein is among the strongest of the many local artists in their 30s producing painterly figurative abstractions. The collective title for her recent paintings on canvas and on paper, “Natural Disasters,” refers not only literally to the turbulent land- and seascapes these works depict but metaphorically to the emotional traumas that appear to have inspired them. Suggestive individual titles such as Illusions of an Aging Child, 1983, Falling from Grace, 1984, and Lover’s Leaves, 1983, extend the autobiographical allusions of these freeze-frames from dramatic narratives.

In the past, Klein’s most compelling images have focused on a dynamic opposition between two figures and/or objects, initially located in interiors, subsequently in landscapes. The tautness of the schematic drawing in these earlier works corresponds to the tensions exuded by the scene. Few of the works on view maintain

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