ERIC KLEMM - METAMORPHOSIS
( The Globe&Mail - Toronto, June 2005 )
The only equivalent I can think of to the lush, super-saturated greens with which these big new photographs by Eric Klemm are imbued are the lush supersaturated greens from which painter Emily Carr carved out the ancient, arboreal forests of British Columbia in paintings such as Wood Interior (1929-30) And Old Tree at Dusk (c.1932). And this makes a certain sense, since Klemm has been living and working on Salt Spring Island, B.C.- Emily Carr country- for the past half-dozen years.
The fourteen chromogenic prints (each 49”x 64”) making up the exhibition Klemm has titled Metamorphosis are mysterious tableau made in the depths of the old growth forest, each of which seems at first to be a pastoral study of the soft counterpane of the under-forest, but which turns out, at second glance, to reveal the presence of a derelict automobile, quietly moldering away in the perpetual twilight of the forest floor.
Shrouded in mantles of moss, and seized up in nets of vine, these decaying automobiles seem strangely less dead than their verdant embalming would lead you to believe, their headlights and bumpers and bits of brightwork gleaming dully in the green light as if they were about to stir and heave and open their feral eyes.
Sometimes the vegetation washes over the cars like a tide, and clings to their metal bones like seaweed. Sometimes only their windshields are overgrown, as if they have been blinded by the relentless greenness.
Klemm has photographed the cars- he tramps all over the island in search of them, like a hunter on safari- from all angles and in all of their fallen, post-Edenic randomness. The most haunting of his photographs, however, tend to be those in which he squares up the car so that it directly faces the viewer from within its lair of ferns and leaves. Sometimes all you can see of it is its wide smile of bumper and its unblinking headlight-eyes.
It’s beautifully disconcerting.
Gary Michael Dault
Eric Klemm - installation view of the
Metamorphosis project, a feature exhibition of FotoFest, Houston
at the Williams Tower Gallery, 2006
Digital c-prints 50 x 65" (127x165 cm)