On view at citizen

Curator's Statement

SAGE RVA, LLC and Citizen Restaurant are pleased to present “Evidence,” a solo exhibition of work featuring Richmond artist Melanie Kluender. This exhibition is part of the on-going series at Citizen Restaurant, curated by SAGE RVA, called “On View at Citizen.”

Kluender is a Richmond native, growing up in various environs around the area and attending VCU for undergraduate and graduate study in art and art education. Now an art educator of advanced-level classes at Atlee High School in Hanover County, Kluender's work blends her needs to order chaos while expressing personal stories, emotions, and wonderings. Crafted from a wide range of materials both precious and cast-off, Kluender's works on paper and fabric range from larger rough-edged work to smaller, tighter presentations. All of Kluender's work is handmade in her home studio, and brings a domestic, approachable feel to the space.

Kluender creates her work in moments of experimentation and as culminations of layering, building, ordering, and understanding. Her work is how she processes her world and her experiences, and comes rife with coded symbols and bits of interior dialogue. Even so, the work is not so specific as to make it dense -- rather, it's veiled enough that viewers can read into it, moving from one curious image to another amidst loops, patterns, textures, and colors. Crafting a visual for an interior landscape is Kluender's modus operandi - she hints at thoughts and feelings that many of us have felt, never fully pulling back the curtain. Instead, enough mystery remains that we are intrigued, coming back repeatedly to the same work and finding new understandings and new connections each time.

Not unlike textile patterns or sketchbook drawings, Kluender's work is feminine without being stereotypical. Though personal in the senses detailed earlier, it also references contemporary social emotions surrounding anxiety, mental health, and the human need to organize what seems random and chaotic. As humans we search for meaning in random chance - Kluender is no different. Her works are busy without being overwhelming, colorful without being riotous, and symbolic without being obscure. It is an act of balance, Kluender's work -- much like our own efforts at existing these days.