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Artist Profile: James Klumpner  

His titles are numbers, not names. The paintings are the artist’s personal thoughts, visually presented—no definitions or declarations. They’re simply a launch pad for your interpretations.

Consider “# 57.” The color is sparse enough to make suggestions and there is much architectural detail to explore. Forms slide and slink into a swimming pool and grab your attention. Add the fire on the horizon and you can do anything with the unassimilated elements. Write your own story.Jim Klumpner “sees things” during the day and lets the images gambol freely in his mind, undirected and unhindered. They emerge as visual ideas as he is falling asleep. He “employs thlogic of dreams.” Later, holding on to the ideas, he starts with underdrawings as he works out the form and color compositions. That allows him to experiment, manifestation of a dream state. But Jim doesn’t read art manifestos.  Although he has been drawing as long as he can remember, he came to painting rather late in life. He is “untrained:” no studio or art history classes. This way, he feels he is not constrained by rules or conventions, but like all artists, he looks at other art and artists and learns by absorption.

“1,” is the image Jim Klumpner uses as his “logo”—his personal identifier. So how personal is it? Is it him? Man? Car? Frog? Is it all of those things, or none?

Jim is also Dr. James Klumpner. He was an economist for the Commerce Department, the Congressional Joint Economic Committee, as well as the House and Senate Budget Committees. He’s written a book about Markets: Spoiling Affluence.But wait, there’s more. He sings. He founded and directed “Polyhymnia,” the a cappella chamber choir that continues to charm and entertain to this day.

#57, acrylic on canvas, 18 x 24, $800, by Jack Klumpner

His painting, “# 57,” is in the Hill Center show this month (See: At the Galleries.)


Jim Magner’s Thoughts on Art 

I was an artist at Hallmark Cards way back in the 60s. They had a traditional look and sold well. But things were changing. In the latter part of the decade, the counter-culture followed art into Art Nouveau—identified mostly with the stunning black and white compositions of Aubrey Beardsley: long flowing and exaggerated lines with elaborately abstracted floral decorations. The look seeped into everything—including some lines of Hallmark cards.

But Art Nouveau didn’t have a color identity until the psychedelic late-60s…then, it was an underground, outlaw sort of thing. It all came together in 1968 in an explosion of fun called “Yellow Submarine,” the movie—the Beatles’ instrument of jolly mischief.

#41, acrylic on canvas, 30 x 24, NFS, by Jack Klumpner

We artists got a call to gather in the Hallmark auditorium to watch an early release of “a film.” And then there it was:  glorious greens and blues and purples and oranges and reds and yellows all joyously galloping across the screen in ever-changing combinations and configurations. The Fab Four encountered and conquered the Blue Meanies and other forces of evil while floating through a hallucinogenic universe of solemn silliness.

We left the auditorium singing “We All Live in a Yellow Submarine” as directed by The Boys.

The Hallmark lines took on the new color look in everything except maybe Easter cards. Even children’s birthday party invitations, centerpieces and nut cups. It didn’t last long, but it knocked down color expectations and opened the door to commercial acceptance of free color expression, as if Wassily Kandinsky became everyone’s art director.

I look at Jim Klumpner’s “#56,” (See: Artist Profile) and “Yellow Submarine” pops in my head. Jim’s “lizard’ comes to me as a Green Meanie. I can see it dancing, bouncing and squiggling all over my desk. But that’s just my story. Write your own.

At the Galleries
Hill Center
921 Pennsylvania Ave., SE
– June 12

This is the annual Regional Juried Exhibition. The Hill Center Gallery may not be open in June, but a wonderful work from each artist can be seen at: https://www.hillcenterdc.org/artist/2020-regional-juried-exhibition.

Foundry Gallery
2118 – 8th Street, N.W.
– June 30
(Open by Appointment)

You will find the all-gallery group show online.  Also, the Barbara Pliskin solo show continues. Barbara paints fantasies. In her “Sun Series,” forms roll through the emptiness of space or become reflections through a transparency.  Always intense and always on the move.    barbarapliskin.com

“Perspectives”—Online Exhibit
Capitol Hill Art League
545 7th St, SE
Through June, and beyond.

“Perspectives” was open to all DC-area artists and was juried by Clint Mansell. There were 299 entries which he narrowed it down to 30. Check out the site for the complete list of artists and award winners. There is also a video of the juror’s remarks concerning the artists selected and the award winners. The show will remain on the website in perpetuity.


 Ikebana Returns: New Virtual Exhibit
The Art League
105 North Union Street

Alexandria, VA 22314
 –June 7

Art and nature come together as The Art League and the Washington, D.C. branch of the Sogetsu School collaborate for their 15th Biennial Ikebana Show. Art works by League members are paired with Ikebana—sculptural flower arrangements—made by students of the Sogetsu School. www.theartleague.org

Online Group Exhibit
Multiple Exposures Gallery
Torpedo Factory
–June 30

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