Current Location:
Daniel and Pamella DeVos Center for Interprofessional Health -> 2nd Floor (DCIH)
Location Notes:
DCIH; 2nd Floor Stairwell

Narcisse #2

Artwork
Identifier:
2021.29.3
Artist:
Vera Klement
Credit:
Gift of the artist
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Date:
1999
Dimensions:
Artworks - Height: 72" Width: 96"
Description:
Single canvas, white background. Image is of a tree trunk with it's own reflection. Colors include mostly brown, green, black and purples.
Historical Context:
Through her artwork, Vera Klement shows us a powerful, personal vision from a career spanning over six decades. Klement's work reflects an amalgamation of her many influences; from classical music, to literature, to modern art and filtered through her formative experience of fleeing the Nazis with her family just before World War II, and a lifetime examining that loss of home and identity. Later in her life Klement moved to Chicago where she became active in the feminist movement, taught for 25 years at the University of Chicago, and developed her work into the powerful metaphoric and poetic images that she has become known for. While painting with broad, powerful brush strokes, Klement also focuses on white space in her paintings, illuminating the objects on the canvas. Here the tree trunks is absent of any reference points, except for its own reflection, floating on a stark white canvas. Klement skillfully renders the dimensionality of bark and a small hollow that looks back at the viewer. Rooted in its reflection the tree that confronts us references Narcissus, the Greek mythological story of a hunter known for his beauty who fell in love with his own reflection in a pool of water. On her use of trees throughout her career Klement reflects, “…when I do a tree, which is my most repeated icon, I do—I’m attracted to the three-dimensionality fullness of it. The same with a body. I’m attracted to the fullness and the weight of a body.”