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  • Writer's pictureDavid Eichholtz

Bold Geometric Paintings from the 1980s by New York Artist Gloria Klein

Gloria Klein , a New York-based artist, is known for her Pattern Painting and systematic, rigorous approach. She uses Color Theory and Geometric Abstraction to explore her own mathematical algorithms to create layered compositions full of patterns that overlap and expand across the canvas. The layered and multicolored patterns combined with the diagonal hatch marks activate the viewer’s eye and create optical and illusory effects suggesting a greater depth and space between the planes and layers of color, evocative of Op Art in the 1960s and 70s and reminiscent of techniques utilized by Ed Mieczkowski and Julian Stanczak. Klein was also an early member of the Criss-Cross Cooperative out of Boulder, Colorado, a collective of like-minded artists committed to Pattern Painting. 

Early in Klein’s career in the 1970s, her paintings had few colors and she used a singular repeating mark, the diagonally oriented hatch mark. These marks created patters based solely on their distance relative to each other and the use of color. Later, Klein began to use only small squares, then began increasing the sizes of the squares and combining the various sizes together along with small grids and single hatch marks. The paintings below from 1980 through 1987are a selection of works that combine these different techniques in various combinations along with a much larger color palette than her earlier paintings from the 1970s. 

Attached you will also find a brief bio for Gloria Klein and links to solo exhibitions of Klein’s artworks and her inclusion in the “Systemic Pattern Painting” survey exhibition that David Richard Gallery produced in 2018 and presented many other members of the Criss-Cross Cooperative. 

Gloria Klein GK ND 15, c. 1980s Acrylic on canvas 36 x 36" (9 separate canvases each 12 x 12 inches square)

Gloria Klein Untitled 20, 1981 Acrylic on canvas  60 x 60"

Gloria Klein Untitled 26, c1984 Acrylic on canvas  60 x 60"

Gloria Klein Untitled 09, 1986 Acrylic on canvas  60 x 60"

Gloria Klein Untitled 45, 1987 Acrylic on canvas  60 x 60"

SYSTEMIC PATTERN PAINTING: ARTISTS OF THE CRISS-CROSS COOPERATIVE Including Artworks by Artists: Charles DiJulio, Dean Fleming, Richard Kallweit, Gloria Klein, Marilyn Nelson, Clark Richert, Dee Shapiro, Robert Swain, George Woodman and Mario Yrisarry


GLORIA KLEIN: Systemic Painting and Pattern

About Gloria Klein:

New York-based artist Gloria Klein was an early member of the Pattern and Decoration movement in the 1970s. She was an active participant in the artist’s co-operative Criss-Cross, which was co-founded by Clark Richert and included George Woodman, Marilyn Nelson, Dee Shapiro and Robert Swain, among others. Her work was frequently featured in their avant-garde publication, Criss-Cross Art Communications. Klein’s rigorous and colorful geometric abstract paintings are based on her own mathematical system for dividing and organizing her canvases and systematically distributing colors to create stunning and detailed compositions. Klein, a systemic painter, used this process to experiment with her palettes and compositions, creating intricate patters that range from completely chaotic to highly structured with geometric grids and every variation in between. Her interest in mark making began with the hatch mark, varying in length and slight shifts in the angle, these slender hard-edged elements were core to her paintings and intricate drawings. Like the stitch in sewing, a single stitch only makes one mark, but collectively, hundreds and thousands of them create intricate patterns and complex compositions. Over time, the hatch mark was combined with small squares to create more complex layers of marks and patterns, then to compositions of just squares. Each motif and composition was made unique with striking color palettes and juxtapositions that created delicate and multi-layered patterns and novel hues.

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