San Francisco-based artist Mary Anne Kluth explores the nexus of landscape imagery and narrative in her new exhibition, Visitor Center, opening at the Contemporary Arts Center in Las Vegas on November 9th. Using descriptive narrative, Kluth creates snapshots of her father’s memories in a faux museum setting.
Visitor Center is Kluth’s most recent project; she demonstrates what is gained and lost when making a visual depiction of information accumulated solely from verbal description. The project began with a simple exercise of asking her geologist father to describe the formal attributes of his favorite specimen from the collection he aggregated over his 40 year career. Using only his descriptions, Kluth then made ceramic representations and asked him to guess which rock formation she had recreated. He then described the area in which he found the original formation; this allowed Kluth to create hyper realistic landscape dioramas of her father’s memories. Her constructed tableaux are photographed and displayed as c-prints complimented with info graphics and samples, as if you were walking through the natural history museum. Having been heavily influenced by the theme park Children’s Fairyland, in which she worked as a restoration painter, her work is full of fanciful color. Kluth’s dreamlike aesthetic creates a romantic nostalgia of pre-settler American landscapes.
Born in Colorodo and residing in the San Francisco Bay area, Kluth earned her MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute, and her BFA from the California College of Arts and Crafts. Currently working as an instructor of water media painting and figure drawing in the Adult Continuing Education depart of the San Francisco Art Institute, Kluth has been exhibited extensively in California, as well as, Hong Kong and Japan. Most recently, Kluth has exhibited at Interface Gallery (Oakland, CA), Kala Art Institute (Berkeley, CA), Frey Norris Contemporary and Modern (San Francisco, CA), Fictilis (Seattle, WA), Springbox Gallery (Portland, OR), Somarts (San Francisco, CA), Lesher Center for the Arts (Walnut Creek, CA), and Root Division (San Francisco, CA).