Thursday, December 27, 2012

Material Process Product - Franz Kline

Franz Kline: Coal and Steel

I recently viewed the Franz Kline exhibit at the Allentown Art Museum and had the priviledge of listening to the curator and friend Robert Mattison speak of the work. I first became interested in Kline's work when I moved to Wilkes-Barre to work for Peter Bohlin. My house was located just three blocks away from Kline's childhood home on River Street where a historic marker announces his contribution to the Abstract Expressionist movement.

Franz Kline "The Ballantine" Courtesy of Franz Kline Estate
Kline's work was deeply influenced by his native coal mining region of Northeastern Pennsylvania. This stark anthracite region inspired Kline's most famous work, the black and white abstractions of the 1950's. The paintings consist of layers of white and black paint, vigorous brushwork and angular substructures -silhouettes of the massive mechanical forms that dot the Pennsylvania landscape. 
Huber Breaker #4 Ashley Pennsylvania Image Courtesy of Michael Mirabito
You can see how the bold lines and confident brush strokes are reminiscent of Pennsylvania's coal breakers. These great machines used in the mining industry are something you will read about in a future blog and deeply influence the architecture I produce.

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