Rachel Klinghoffer sculptural paintings at One River School in ‘If You Like Piña Coladas’

“If You Like Piña Coladas,” a solo exhibition of sculptural paintings by multi-disciplinary artist Rachel Klinghoffer, curated by Lauren Powell, will be on view at the One River School in Woodbury, New York through January 16, 2021.

The works in this exhibition provide a ray of light in troubling times. They remind us of the power, joy, comfort, safety, and possibility that can reside within our own nostalgia, if we so choose to see with that perspective.

Created while sheltering in place with her husband and two young children at their home in South Orange, NJ,  the works in “If You Like Piña Coladas” combine personal ephemera (used lingerie, souvenirs and studio refuse) to create prismatic, self-narratives that recycle Klinghoffer’s own joyful memories into hope and optimism for the viewer. Materials ranging from balloons from her son being brought home from the hospital when he was born, a copy of the ketubah that belongs to her sister’s family, a seashell found by her niece, a piece of a painting  from friend, a piece of failed sculpture, drink stirrers from her Grandmother, bras from a collector, and a receipt  from the kosher butcher provide a glimpse into what the artist holds onto. These objects are generously passed onto the viewer, completely transformed, sometimes unrecognizable, but the memory remains.

As we all currently seek safety and simplification, Klinghoffer found refuge focusing on imagery of humming horizon lines while isolated in her home studio. Recounted memories with family and friends inspired her to transform these objects into sunsets, oceans and otherworldly atmospheres. This resolves into a bright horizon where personal ephemera emerge and submerge, floating through this unknown space, an atmosphere. The colors reference the Romantics, particularly the Hudson River School, with its emphasis on subtleties and range of light. These relic-like assemblages reflect the artist’s personal connection to femininity, craft-making, Judaism, romance, pushing the definition of painting.

In the ever-present dichotomy of these times, Klinghoffer’s paintings highlight this notion. In letting go and passing on instead of holding on, the artist has effectively transferred her joy onto others, igniting a possibility of change on the horizon and a glass-half-full perspective we can truly use right now.

Rachel Klinghoffer (b. New York, NY 1982) received her Masters in Fine Arts in Painting with honors from Rhode Island School of Design and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Painting with course work in Visual and Critical  Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

By repurposing materials, making and remaking them into paintings and sculptures, Klinghoffer prompts a reimagining of uses for these relic-like objects. Articles reflect the artist’s personal connection to femininity, craft making, Judaism, romance, pushing the definition of painting. Through time, the items become specimens, icons.  They are poked, prodded, stained, sprayed, stroked, rubbed, dipped, then pulled, torn, cracked open and broken apart making up and becoming the new work.

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