Art + Science: Art of Healing: Sandra Klein
The Art + Science features this week are focused on the art of healing – how artists use art and photography to overcome or assist in the curative process.
Sandra Klein is a multi-media artist and fine art photographer based in Los Angeles, California. As a conceptual artist, her collective works have a meditative quality and a connection to memory. In her most recent series, GRIEVING IN JAPAN, she has given voice to the most difficult of emotions, the loss of life. This series gives form to a personal struggle, leading the viewer through a delicate road of snow-covered passages blanketed with memory and symbolism.
Like the electrical waves of a beating heart, the peaks and valleys are constant; yet between each beat, there is a state of rest. As Klein searches for a sense of balance and equilibrium within chaos, she finds a respite within the wintery landscape of Japan. Her journey offers the viewer an awareness of his or her own challenging times in life, yet also offers a message of courage to carry on.
“In the dark times
Will there be singing?
Yes, there will be singing.
Is it possible to portray a grief so deep that it is difficult to endure? For a number of years, I have visited Japan in winter, but this past January, less than a year after the tragic death of my oldest son, I longed to visit this surreal, almost otherworldly land with the anticipation that I could grieve here in a way I couldn’t at home. The stunning snow-covered landscapes I captured for this series, with their muffled silence, hiding almost all color, all vestiges of humanity and the modern world, almost seemed to weep for me. Japan’s unfamiliar religious rituals and ancient objects, with their histories and iconography, affected me deeply.
The images in this project straddle the real and surreal. The re-contextualizing of photographs and ephemera, where images are composited to include historical art and objects, reflects my altered state of reality. The materiality of these collages satisfies a need to define my personal despair with a more physical, unique object, as I cut and sew into the photographs as an act of memorializing not only my son, but my own journey into a new reality.
Grieving in Japan is a meditation on a life that feels unhinged and unbearable. I experience periods of isolation from all that is familiar as I am pulled far away into the unknown world of loss. And yet, I am reminded, at moments, of the small joys this world reveals, inviting me to experience flashes of utter pleasure, even as I mourn.
Sandra Klein was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey and received a BFA from Tyler School of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, PA and an MA in printmaking from San Diego State University. After working as a teacher, her art focus moved from printmaking into mixed media and fine art photography. Her practice involves conceptual imagery that explores memory and personal narratives. Her layered, often three-dimensional photographs have been shown across the United States in venues such as the Center of Fine Art Photography in Colorado, Candela Gallery in Virginia, A Smith Gallery in Texas, Tilt Gallery in Arizona, Southeast Center of Photography in North Carolina, and Building Bridges, Arena 1 Gallery and the Los Angeles Center of Photography in Los Angeles. Her work has been featured on Lenscratch, A Photo Editor, Musee Magazine, What Will You Remember, and in Diffusion magazine, and is held in public collections. She was in a six-person show at the California Museum of Art, Thousand Oaks in September 2017, and in October 2017 Sandra had a solo exhibition at the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, MA. She lives and works in Los Angeles.
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