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Terry Klausman (1964-)

Meteoric, 2018 

Materials: Prismacolor pencil on Arches paper, 30" x 22”.

Location at Summa Health:  Dr. Gary B. and Pamela S. Williams Tower on the Akron Campus, (141 N. Forge St.), blue neighborhood, second floor, hallway outside patient rooms H2-303 and H2-304.

About the art and artist

You might be surprised to discover that this rather large 2-dimensional work is a drawing, rather than a painting or a print: You have to look very closely at the green, blue and purple circles to see any trace of individual pencil strokes. Even working with materials that are officially identified as drawing materials, Terry Klausman works so tightly that he achieves a level of uniformity across relatively broad areas, as here. So a part of this artist’s interest lies in a very precise technique, which he uses in this composition. 

In the dominant diagonals, Klausman suggests that these 11 “meteors” (or orbs or spheres — they are highly simplified and so could be almost anything — appear regularly in his recent work) are hurtling on a downward trajectory and breaking through some type of mesh fabric, fraying its ends.This fabric is made up of dozens of “threads” that appear to be stitched together, resulting in what looks like a stiff, wiry material, like fanciful barbed wire. This particular quality of texture and the line that is created by the random repetition of the differing “stitches” is the end-product of serendipity: The artist suffered a traumatic injury to his right hand on his welding job and, during the long recovery, was forced to draw with his left hand. He found that he liked the less-controlled, quavering quality of the line that he was able to produce, and so developed a formula that captured that effect even when he returned to drawing with his trained hand. The quavering look is reproduced when he interrupts the long lines and articulates them by a dense succession of stitches, each of them painstakingly drawn with a very sharp Prismacolor pencil.

In some recent work, Klausman enlarges his distinctive repertory of stitches to generate big, vivid geometries, still recognizable and still created with pencil.

You will likely feel compelled to examine these drawings in detail, because each stitch has been drawn in order to be uniform in size and shape, as if produced, paradoxically, by a machine. The mechanical effect of the whole is heightened by the use of white pencil in this work, which appears silvery against the black paper and thus feels metallic. The degree of control in this drawing, even before we recognize that it has been created entirely by hand, elicits an intuitive response: You want to understand how the artist has created it and then you marvel at his perseverance. Depending on design and paper, these marks can look organic, like grasses, or deliberately ominous and aggressive, like real barbed wire. You begin to trace how the artist, endlessly fascinated by a small detail, explores it over and over and over, never repeating exactly …

Klausman creates work that we would classify as self-taught; he has made art only since about 2010; since then, he has shown and received recognition for works in sculpture, collage, and drawing in solo and group exhibitions all across Ohio and beyond.He maintains a studio in Barberton where he creates work in collage and metal sculpture, in addition to stunning drawings like this one.

Where you can see more of this artist’s work:

Klausman has also been involved in making performance art — heavily visual events, usually involving performers, which unfold in real time — which included “Resurrection: a performance/fine art project” in 2016, and a site-specific work, “Anything will Help.” The latter was documented by Stephen Paternite as a photo essay exploring some of the social issues affecting communities of Northeast Ohio and published in 2019. Another performance piece entitled “the Resurrection Project” involved driving in a race that ended with crashing into the artist’s “vintage boat," collecting the debris and then making a work of art that was juried into a national show in Chicago. Klausman also created “A Conversation in Motion” for the Akron-Summit County Public Library Main Branch in 2014-2015; you can see it in the library’s Special Collections department. The artist is represented by galleries in Akron and Cleveland and has works in the collections of the Cleveland Clinic, the Akron Public Library, the Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx, and in Canada; and in corporate and private collections in Ohio, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Missouri, Michigan, and Florida, and in one belonging to the royal family in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. His art is also archived in the Artists’ Archives of the Western Reserve.

The healing arts at Summa Health


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