Culture » Visual Arts

Larry Kledzik evokes the 'sublime' in a new active art installation

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COURTESY LARRY KLEDZIK
  • Courtesy Larry Kledzik

Local artist Larry Kledzik has been creating for a very long time, long enough to give up full control of his art and let it take him wherever it wants to go — with room for compromise along the way. “It’s a matter of letting the art tell you what it wants,” he says, “and then experimenting to see if you can manipulate that, go against it, or go along with it.”

Which is why his current installation piece at the Manitou Art Center, The Most Self Evident Country in the World, will not remain static. When “aesthetic continuations suggest themselves,” he goes along with them, changing elements of the installation, planned or spontaneous. “This particular installation, there are things coming that I can see,” Kledzik says. “It’s changed a couple of times already in that I have a section in there where I will rotate pieces of art in and out.”

It makes for a dynamic environment, the meaning of which morphs with each change.

Inside the installation, the eye draws itself from the dark, metallic aesthetics of one section to the almost shockingly bright reds and yellows of another, over a blank canvas and then onward to other sections that evoke signage, chemicals, construction, deconstruction and a thousand other impressions. It’s social commentary, but not just in response to the present times.

“[The installations] run parallel with life. I kind of straddle art and life as it’s going on ... I’m a historical painter, but it’s a different form of history painting. Implied history.”

What he means by “implied history” is the concept of supra-history — a perspective that examines the past, present and future simultaneously.

The Most Self Evident Country in the World contains elements borrowed from Kledzik’s previous installations: PIECE, which was exhibited at the Manitou Art Center in 2012; and They Are Either at Your Feet or at Your Throat, a darker work that premiered at The Bridge Gallery last year, but those are just snapshots of a project that has been in development since the mid-’90s. This particular installation has seen about a decade of development.

The world has changed in that decade, and in response Kledzik wants his piece to evoke the “sublime,” a sense of greatness, or awe at its meaning.

“Even if the outcome in civilization is dark,” he says, “[this work] still has a level in which it’s sublime because it’s the human struggle — the human struggle to survive, which seems to be more and more up in the air now. It’s getting [scarier] now, and the avoidance tactics aren’t working.”

So this installation provides a chance to confront the state of the world, to view it from a new angle, and possibly to change it. Kledzik believes that art is the voice of the collective unconscious, and that the outcome of the work has the potential to affect the outcome of events. Hopefully, in this case, for the better.

On display through June 16, Manitou Art Center, 513 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, manitouartcenter.org.

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