Emil Michael Klein, Untitled, 2014–15, oil on canvas, 74 3/4 × 49 3/4".

Emil Michael Klein

Galerie Francesca Pia

Emil Michael Klein, Untitled, 2014–15, oil on canvas, 74 3/4 × 49 3/4".

A problem faced by painters—and also by writers—is how to begin. As Emil Michael Klein has pointed out, there’s something transgressive, even repellent, about the first step: brushing pigmented fat onto a pristine white canvas. But once the first act has been committed, it brings other decisions in its wake. Elaborations, deviations, and corrections can be brought into play. A process can be begun that results in a finished painting. It’s perhaps not coincidental that the word process, so popular in art pedagogy, can also refer to a trial by law, as if the original act were a crime that needed to be expiated.

To circumvent the difficulty of beginning, low-intentionality painting techniques have evolved in the last decades, from subcontracting to commercial painters (which can be done hygienically, over the phone) to studio techniques that draw upon the methods of mass

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