Jeff Klapperich’s latest series, called Metamorphosis, is on view at Mike Wright Gallery in Denver through April 16th, where you can see an interesting installation of the photos side-by-side with the ceramic sculptures and process photographs. In his experimental exploration of human figure, Klapperich employs a process of photography, painting, and sculpture to create deeply psychological imagery. He received his BFA in photography from the Pratt Institute in 2004 and now lives and works in Brooklyn, New York., working under portrait photographer Rosalind Solomon and architectural ceramicist Peter Lane.
Above image: Jeff Kapperich, Metamorphosis series, 2015, photography
Klapperich’s process begins with a photograph of a model followed by a series of acetate paintings and a clay relief sculpture based on the photographs. Next, the relief is photographed through the acetate and layered together in camera via multiple exposures until trial-and-error elicits the desired composition. The final photos do not contain actual images of the human figure.
“Sculpting allows me to accentuate or oppose the forms that are present in the original image,” explains Klapperich. “The clay has an infinite number of textures and a capacity for dimension while remaining structural and anonymous. The final photograph is an image of the sculpture captured using creative techniques in lighting and exposure and shot through acetate paintings in a large format camera. With each step of the process, the image gets further from the reality of the model but closer to an artistic truth.”
Klapperich’s dramatic black-and-white photographs are impressive without knowledge of his process, depicting figures in states of emotion, submission, struggle, and change. The theme of transformation is evident throughout his work, in his process with clay-to-ceramic’s physical and chemical transformation, and in his subjects, which appear trapped inside psychological cocoons in the midst of painful evolution.
“Metamorphosis has always been a fascinating topic to me. I’m drawn to examples of it in nature as in butterflies, or ice changing into water,” says Klapperich. “I couple these ideas with figurative gestures to relate them to human life. Metamorphosis is happening to all of us, all the time, in our bodies, our minds and our souls. I think it’s a very important process, and as a subject has many possibilities.”
Justin Crowe is Writer-at-Large for CFile.
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