In the Studio: Klara Glosova’s “Life on the Sidelines”

Posted on May 28, 2014, 5:46 pm
4 mins


Artist Klara Glosova’s latest body of work will open to the public at Bryan Ohno Gallery in two weeks and I was happily given a preview of the watercolor on paper works she has in her Beacon Hill studio. Glosova has been busily working simultaneously on many pieces, each from the same perspective, behind onlookers at a junior soccer match at a public field. The lush, evergreen stand of trees in the background, the acid green turf of the soccer pitch, and the warm pink of a running track in the foreground divide the composition into natural thirds, with the foreground the least variable—always an almost abstract band of lines broken by the presence of a shopping satchel sitting to the viewer’s left.

The bag is strangely grounding and gives the viewer the sense of the truth of the scene. That is, it would have been easier to omit it and leave the foreground an undisturbed, earthy foundation for the textured greens above, but Glosova leaves it in. This is not to say, though, that the scenes are an attempt at perfect representation. Glosova titles the pieces according to the standard file names of photographs taken by her camera. Glosova is very open about the fact that these are not painted entirely from imagination, nor from plein air sessions—but neither are they exact representations of a moment. The bundled figures on the sidelines are digitally arranged and made into novel composites before Glosova works from them.

"Life on the Sidelines, IMG_8702," by Klara Glosova. Image courtesy of the artist and Bryan Ohno Gallery.

“Life on the Sidelines, IMG_8702,” by Klara Glosova. Image courtesy of the artist and Bryan Ohno Gallery.

Individually, the paintings are attractive and warm, and taken as a series they grow more so, as one develops a potential narrative for the figures. Meanwhile, the damp, dense forest that fills the top of each scene is recognizable over and over—and categorically Pacific Northwestern—but shifting with darkness and light, turning the unpredictability of watercolor into a strength, a lush variation.

This unpredictability and concern about accuracy between paintings was a source of stymying stress at the beginning when Glosova was working on one piece at a time, but during a studio visit early in the process Ohno recommended that she clear the studio and move between paintings, working on all at once. The change made all the difference as she could more easily organize and adapt the material and keep a regular pace without being frustrated by one work at a time. Revelations like this make studio visits so valuable to some artists and gallerists and why Ohno visits several artists on a weekly basis. This approach is something for other artists to consider when working in sequences if they have adequate room for it.

As the details of the opening and framing of pieces were discussed, Glosova introduced the idea of another series of pieces to potentially be included. I won’t spill the beans about that, but I do hope she has the time to make these complementary works because they would be a delight.

Klara Glosova’s Life on the Sidelines opens to the public on First Thursday, June 5 at Bryan Ohno Gallery.


T.s. Flock is a writer and arts critic based in Seattle and co-founder of Vanguard Seattle.