Artist Kimia Ferdowsi Kline is currently partway though Breathing On Land, her third solo show at East Village’s Turn Gallery in New York.
The paintings which together make up Breathing On Land take the viewer on a trip on the rollercoaster ride of human relationships, from the euphoric rush of lust-filled flings to the all-consuming love of a mother for her newborn child. Bristling beneath a style which may at first glance be mistaken for naive, inter-human connectivity plays out in all its fucked up glory. The elements of water, air, land and fire are transfigured into boldly evocative metaphors for our physical, external realities and the emotional worlds which live within each of us.
After completing her BFA at Washington University in painting in 2008, Kimia honed her craft with an MFA – also in painting – at San Francisco Art Institute. Since then, she’s been busy making an impressive body of work for solo and group shows and curating the art collection of Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn. We caught up the Nashville-born, Brooklyn-based artist-curator to find out a little more.
How does your work as a curator inform your work as an artist, and vice versa?
I view curating as an extension of my studio practice. In the same way that making a painting requires problem solving and creative thinking, so does curating a show. In curating I problem solve and use creativity every time I lay out work in a space, choose artists in conversation with one another, or write a press release.
Painting allows me to be an author, and curating allows me to be an editor. I enjoy both these roles immensely and have been lucky to have had opportunities doing both.
I also view curating as a contribution to supporting the art community in Brooklyn. With every show, I’m able to shine a spotlight on artists I believe are doing great work. It’s an honour to find myself in a position where I can extend support to artists by giving them visibility or by purchasing their work for the Wythe’s collection.
Your work is influenced by both East and West. Can you tell us how these influences manifest themselves in your paintings?
Yes, I think it has always been the case and will always be the case, given that I myself am a mix of East and West culturally, and that artwork is a reflection of who we are as people.
I also studied abroad in Japan in college, which had a profound experience on my aesthetics and deepened my sense of reverence towards to the creative process and the arts in general.
What are you working on over the coming months?
My solo show Breathing on Land just opened at Turn Gallery and will be up through June 17th.
I just curated a large group show of 22 artists in Detroit, Michigan at Wayne State University, entitled “Say Yes,” which explores the role of play and improvisation in art making.
I currently have three pieces in a group show at 68 Projects in Berlin, Germany, curated by Adrianne Rubenstein, entitled “We Might Not Have A Planet Left Soon”. Other artists in the show include Katherine Bradford, Yevgeniya Baras, Pam Glick, Jackie Gendel, and Donna Nelson.
I’m curating a group show with Yevgeniya Baras, Tamara Gonzales, EJ Hauser, and Adrianne Rubenstein opening at Wythe Hotel on May 21st, and lastly, I have another solo coming up at Marrow Gallery in San Francisco in October.
Which New York-based artists do you think we should know about?
EJ Hauser, Yevgeniya Baras, Matt Phillips, Katherine Bradford, Tamara Gonzales, Adrianne Rubenstein, Jackie Gendel, Michael Berryhill, Sadie Laska, Caroline Wells Chandler.