In a show that is both primitive and idolized, Tyler Kline is currently exhibiting new sculpture and installation as part of “Celestial Subterrane” at Rebekah Templeton Contemporary Art. His creations are composed of all types of recognizable materials recycled into a new life as part of an immersive, modern day shrine of kinetic sculptures and assemblages.
There is a strong feeling of the Philly DIY culture at hand here, and much of Kline’s work is repurposed or recycled. Many objects like traffic cones, tin cans and tree branches are initially obvious. Others are hidden among the scattered detritus and become apparent only after some observation. The wooden arms and web-like strands of hot glue, which spin on an old turntable anticipate their being seen on account of their motion but keep their materials obscured; initially the glue appears to shimmer, like metallic wire. In another sculpture, bits of orange peel are pinned together in the shape of a human skull. This image is both amusing and grave in its composition, utilizing the healthful aura of the citrus fruit to portray the universal symbol of death.
Everything in this show can be said to defy explanation. There are either implied or perceived cultural references throughout, but the overall intention remains open-ended. For instance, why would there be a Rorschach inkblot mounted like a flag over the spinning turntable? Its organic shapes mimic the surrounding branches and the moving parts, making the whole thing seem alive and breathing (or at least robotic and mobile). At the center of the room hangs a wooden structure with painted netting creeping out from inside it. The branches reaching out look like veins and this central form the exhibition’s heart.
Printmaking by Kline also makes an appearance in the gallery’s flat files. The prints are chaotic and organic, much like the show, but also offer concrete images not found in the installation work. One is an abstracted portrait of eccentric ceramic artist George Ohr. Another, named “Robin Goodfellow” after the trickster Puck of Shakespearean fame, is less of a portrait and more a multi-eyed mutant.
Kline pays heed to the mythological and the historical by way of “Black Dragon Venus” which embraces both the ancient beast of folklore and the rotund female earth images crafted by early humans. Much like the show itself, these images only seem to fit together in the loosest of ways, but their distant relationships make “Celestial Subterrane” a fun festival of free association.
Rebekah Templeton Contemporary Art is located at 173 Girard Ave.; firstname.lastname@example.org.