COMMOTION POTION // EBEN KLING
FEBRUARY 19 - MARCH 7, 2016
Commotion Potion is an exhibition featuring new paintings by Eben Kling, in his first solo-exhibition in Providence. Kling’s studio practice is informed by American pop-culture. His figures, riddled with anxiety, seek refuge from media that is steeped in calamity and seemingly endless cultural disasters. Kling’s colorful and humorous paintings reference hyper-saturation of advertising in American culture--he collages found cartoons and clipart, intermingling with figures that wander compositions both intimately familiar and alien.
Borrowing from advertising media and digestible imagery, Kling incorporates and repaints this clipart, using the images as both compositional and conceptual elements. In The Kids Love It (2015) re-purposed crowds of cartoon children cheering are juxtaposed by an anxiety-riddled televised political debate. The absurdity of the stock images creates visual and conceptual tension with Kling’s invented figures. By accessing the cartoon lexicon, Kling is able to address serious and concerning cultural issues, utilizing a vocabulary that is both immediate and accessible. His figures, distorted and obscured, humorously address both consumerism and escapism. They are crushed by their own weight as they drink, smoke, and burrow away in attempts to distance themselves from over-stimulation.
Eben Kling received his BFA from Montserrat College of Art in 2009 and his MFA from Umass Amherst in 2015. He is recipient of the 2014 St. Botolph Club grant for emerging artists. He is one half of the independent curatorial project PlayLaborPlay and is currently the artist in residence at Artspace New Haven.