Press Release by Erik Eisele (will some hilarious detail)
BARTLETT, N.H. — Former East Villager and abstract artist Rebecca Klementovich returns to NYC next month for the Clio Art Fair, where her insights from living in a small town at the foot of New Hampshire’s White Mountains will be on display. Her pallet includes the orange and pinks of alpenglow, intertwined with the subtle blues, greys and whites of ice, snow and winter mountains. Clio is a curated with an eye towards independent artists, showcasing the work, careers and achievements of already affirmed creative minds. For Klementovich this will be a homecoming of sorts, a return to the “Bunker” neighborhood of William Boroughs and the city walls where Basquiat wrote Samo, which carries a special sweetness for her — she lived in the East Village and Sunnyside Queens for 20 years.
“I will never shake the inspiration spawned by living in the creative airs of the East Village during the 90s,” Klementovich said. “The question is: Can you ever leave the East Village? The pizza on St. Mark’s, the creative riots of people dressed as vegetables protesting the loss of neighborhood gardens, the wall-to-wall Polish restaurants and Spanish bodegas. These specialties swim in my subconscious.”
But she did leave, moving to the most anti-women, anti-abstract art area of New Hampshire: Bartlett, a small town in the shadow of the Mount Washington, the Northeast’s highest peak. There her East Village-ness came out in the painting partnership with another abstract artist, Kristen Pobatschnig. It was a duo born of the dark bathrooms of CBGBs and East to the Dark and then left to go feral in the mountains of the New Hampshire. Together they co-founded the Femme Fatales of the North.
“Kristen and I began making ridiculous iconic women painting pics of wearing long gowns while abstract painting off mountain cliffs,” Klementovich said. “We wanted to show off the rarified air of being a female painter in upstate New Hampshire. We let loose, painting among the walls of snow instead of the white walls of a gallery, expressing the uniqueness of being lone voices of female abstract painting creativity. Since there is only us, the sky is the limit.”
She missed the danger element of getting home at 4 a.m. in the gritty East Village days, missed seeing the pop up graffiti art galleries in Alphabet City tenement rooms. “The only danger I could equate was painting near cliffs in high heels or East Village platforms,” she said.
She compares her work to a northern version of the painter Richard Diebenkorn. But instead of Bay Area cement roads, Klementovich uses the diagonals of mountains and colorways of the early sunset and sunrise, the palate of alpenglow, to construct a contemporary take on the traditional mountain landscape. She hopes to capture the beauty of landscapes still untouched.
“What I really look forward to is representing the White Mountains’ over the top sense of color, scale and landscape,” she said. “This area is underrated in its beauty, and art is a wonderful way to show the land.”
Klementovich will be sending three large semi-abstract paintings of the Scenic Vista viewpoint in Intervale. “To up the ante,” she said, “part of my exhibition will have colorful live small birds in cages, representative of my color palette. I was surprised the gallery will allow live birds, but hey, it’s New York.”
Klementovich is also working to design a birdcage bracelet, with a live bird perched in the cage.
“We’ll see how far I can go with creativity at this fair,” she said.
See her work at the Clio Independent Art Fair on 35th street, March 8 to 11.