"Works by Harold Klunder, one of Canada's leading painters, who's now based in Montreal, convey the rough-hewn, bohemian aura of the 60s and 70s. That was when he first made his name, a time when painting was an unironic, wholly impassioned business. Klunder's canvases in Clint Roenisch's Black Sun show are seriously meaty forays into form and colour.
His use of brutally thick impasto paint implies the strong influence of his Dutch predecessors; Rembrandt, Willem de Kooning and Karl Appel come to mind. He piles these textures onto thin washes of underlying pigment, often building up strong outlines and motifs that lie on the hazy edge of representation. While the overall effect is abstract, heads and faces do on occasion erupt from the roiling surfaces - never enough, however, to break the organic tension between form and formlessness.
This tension is one of the driving forces of Klunder's work. His accretionary, often meditatively slow painting process means that some canvases stay in his studio for years. This is abstraction as a painterly journal, a geologic record of a life in paint that the artist describes as psychic self-portraiture.
In the Black Sun Triptych, exhibited here for the first time and painted over a four-year period, three gorgeous, totemic columns convey, despite the time invested in them, a fresh sense of amorphous possibility.
Klunder retains some of the best qualities from abstract painting's heyday, keeping alive the struggle between the artist, the object of his attention and his materials. It's one not rooted in conceptual parsing but in painting as a both intuitive and poetic endeavour.
Over the decades, he has maintained his faith in painting as both a psychological and narrative path, a process that arouses in viewers moments of pure, unabashed visual pleasure." - David Jager, Now Toronto
Signature: signed, titled and dated in ink on the reverse of each of three panels
Image rights: courtesy HK and CRG
Harold Klunder: This Length Of Muddy Road, Art Gallery Of Grande Prairie, AB (2014)
Nasgaard, Roald: Abstract Painting In Canada, 2008, Douglas & McIntyre
HK Studio, Canada
About Harold Klunder
Born in the Netherlands, Harold Klunder has been exhibiting his paintings in Canada for over three decades. Klunder forms deep relationships to his pieces, sometimes working on each one for several years. His patient approach manifests itself in abstract works that seem to exist outside of time as we experience it on a day-to-day basis. In Green Abstraction (2012–14), the loose outline of a face melts upward in writhing, bold green lines; the mouth is agape, suggesting the slow cycle of receiving and forgetting ideas. Klunder strives not to depict any specific object or idea, but instead aims to render consciousness itself.
Canadian, b. 1943, Deventer, Netherlands, based in Montreal, QC, Canada