Artist Statement

STEPHEN KLADDER

My artwork explores connections.  Drawing from daily events in my life in San Francisco:  riding public transportation and walking the various districts that makes up the City — regularly confronted with the faces of the city; the passing glances; the far-away looks; the sudden, seeming connection; the quick turn away; the blank stare; the air of the pedestrian — inspire the fragments and connections of faces that appear in my drawings.

Like dreams, these fleeting encounters connect us to fragments of our lives that are obscure, but touch us deeply none-the-less.  Sometimes, they appear again and again, or at least seem to:  “Where have I seen her before?”  And for a moment, dèjá vu strikes.

Fleeting sensations imbed themselves into our psyche.  Sometimes I want more from the passing hint of a connection:  a desire to know, to share a feeling; not desiring to impose a breach of a silent wall, I am left with only the experience of quiet empathy.  I start to see faces reflecting faces – the common ground; the kinship of the human condition appearing on the street every day:  a relation once before connected, maybe to be joined again.

My acrylic paintings and mixed media works explore the connections between the individual and our natural environment, the energies found within us and that connect us with the cosmos. The continuous march into specialization sometimes leaves me wondering if we may be essentially peeling back and shredding that inner knowledge of our oneness with all that is.  These pieces are, for me, a re-integration of wholeness.

Exploring connections seems to be naturally leading me to the architecture of layers.  My most recent self-portrait, a charcoal drawing of 3 self-portraits overlaying one another, leaves me pondering the architecture of our personalities, emotions and psyche, sometimes brought to the fore-front, sometimes kept in the background.  Which face is the real face of me?

Work in process is an experiment to combine the methods – drawing and painting; layers of connections; and, layers of medium of the artwork; connection to disconnection to re-connection, the journey of the wonder and pondering of wholeness seen through fragments.