By Peter Frank
Kylin Gallery has been established to encourage this cross-fertility through education, marketing, and, most especially, presentation of and support for art and artists that consciously “build bridges” between East and West. By opening in BeverlyHill, KG has targeted the Pacific Ocean as the body of water it will span with its metaphorical bridge. But this spirit of bridge-building will lead the gallery in all appropriate directions. Its program will feature art by Eastern and Western artists alike who look across the geographic and cultural divides in order to marry and merge idea and practice. The results will be not simply hybrid, but fused: in the art at Kylin, it will be hard to tell where one civilization leaves off and the other comes in, but it will be easy to tell both are present.
If the quality of an artwork consists in its revealing the process of its creation, then the art of Klebanoff's work is apparent. The process is as bold as the images. Her works consistently question the reliability of fleeting sensory impressions. The aesthetic expression of the sculptural arrangements turns objects with inconsequential relationships into subjects that speak individually to the viewer. The inventory of forms constantly alters as the eye moves across and through the three-dimensional works or the viewer changes his position. Here, the sum of the parts is made whole when the viewer completes the image. As Glasnost dawned, Klebanoff was the American artist who inaugurated the first American gallery in Moscow. She was one of two American artists invited to the World Design Expo in Nagoya, Japan. Canada, Israel, Sri Lanka and all parts America are among her ports of call, where her work is sought for consulates, embassies, public and private collections.
Consider this common definition of jazz: "A kind of native American music marked by a strong but flexible rhythmic understructure with solo and ensemble improvisations that is a highly sophisticated harmonic idiom." The dynamic inherent in Klebanoff's work carries a similar appeal, as she weaves all three layers at once. It is a visual jazz that appears loose and easy but, when skillfully executed, represents a very disciplined abstract. At times Klebanoff's work seems to peek into the fourth dimension, or delve into whimsical molecules. Her father was a leading international theoretical physicist who questioned the popular concepts of chaos theory. Perhaps this partly accounts for Klebanoff's effort to find order and continuity in the seemingly random. Part of that continuity is the time which is so apparent in the creation of her art. Time that also shows the workings of the human hand. There are paradoxes in the creation of Klebanoff's art. Her feet dance across the pedals of the loom, which is as under control as a player piano pounding its keys. But for all the energy expended for this physically demanding form, the artist must accept that "the loom remains a large piece of machinery that produces slowly amid a very meditative rhythm." Yet the result is highly kinetic.
Klebanoff hand-dyes her yarn and paints the threads to create a canvas at its most basic form. This is, however, a three-dimensional canvas on which there is an interplay of color and sculptural elements. The unique color combinations add to the poetic sensuality of found items. Light and shadow become similar materials, not unlike the appearance of light in the water that has captivated the artist with its physical presence. Klebanoff often focuses on things that lend a joyful mood, and the uplift is woven into her work. A theme she often visits is that of a wave of water, which she finds "almost universally symbolic of power and persistence." Another is the "void or the unknown" which she finds to have "a structure of its own, which is not discovered until the risk is taken to enter the Unknown."
Less unknown is one common reaction. Viewers in every culture ultimately slip to the side of her hanging works, as if looking for the wizard behind the curtain. They're still looking.