Larry and Debby Kline artists and provocateurs – installation, performances, and other works

“Generation to Generation: Contemporary Assemblage” – North County Times, January 22, 2004

“Generation to Generation: Contemporary Assemblage
Patricia Morris Buckley
North County Times, January 22, 2004

The metaphors are thick in the art show “Generation to Generation: Contemporary Assemblage” at the Oceanside Museum of Art.   The title has many layered meanings.  The first meaning has to do with the art technique involved.   Assemblage is a term coined by artist Jean Dubuffet in 1953 to describe any three -dimensional collage composed of found objects.   So an object that served a use in one generation serves another in this generation.   “By recycling the material, it becomes something artistic,” said Larry Kline, an Escondido resident who co-curated the show with his wife, Debby.  “They all use assemblage, but each brings very different feelings to it.”   But each of the three represented artists in the Oceanside exhibit has also incorporated elements that deal with family.   In that theme is a sense of the passing of family traditions from one generation to the next.   “This show takes a cohesive bent on assemblage,” said Debby Kline.  “It talks about the connections that artists make using assemblage.”

The featured artists include Poupee Boccaccio, Irma Sophia Poeter and James Watts.  Each offers a distinctly different approach and style to the medium.  For instance, Watts’ images are intricate with bright colors and popular images, such as a three-dimensional cross that is covered in photos from the 1960s and ’70s.  “He uses a lot of printed material and deals with big issues such as love and God,” said Larry Kline. “His work is the antithesis to Poeter’s.”  Poeter’s work is an installation that fills an entire room.  A former fashion design student, she has draped sheer, veiled material panels between masks that appear to resemble DNA.  Hanging from the ceiling, it has an eerie, haunting emotional core.  “It’s a very quiet, subtle piece,” said Larry.   Perhaps the most haunting works are from Boccaccio, who has created a room full of images that reflect her experience growing up with an older, schizophrenic sister – a bed with a heart covered with shattered glass, butterfly imagery and a photograph of her sister’s Communion.  “This work is how she dealt with her sister’s developmental disorders,” said Debby.  “It’s a mildly depressing installation because of her situation, but it’s also her way of reconnecting with her sister.  So it’s very emotional.”

The result is a show that assembles artists of different generations -and viewpoints – a third metaphor for the title.  “There’s a lot to take in with this show,” said Larry.  Yet, even with that depth, it’s a show that brings its viewers to an understanding of what the artists want to say – a fourth metaphor.  “When people see this, they’ll have a sense of familiarity and the cyclical things in life.  There’s a real upbeat feeling because of that.”

- Patricia Morris Buckley

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