Explosions of Grace and Power
Chicago-born artist Dennis Kleidon paints on canvas and on archival paper, bringing abstractions to brilliant life on meditative backgrounds that serve to increase their power. From a distance, you can feel the pull of deep vortexes, tumble down a waterfall or pirouette into a Navajo dance. Up close, you can see feathers or ripples bouncing on a beach and wonderful integrations of concentric lines and color details. At any distance, bold strokes demand your attention, moving in unison across huge curves, dripping in magical colors.
Kleidon’s textured backgrounds are largely inspired by the colors and textures of the magnificent boulders used to build the walls of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West. Their colors range from warm umbers and siennas to warm and cool grays. The texture and strength of the rocks inspired these Zen-like paintings, splitting the peace, orderliness and mystery of stone to reveal the creative spark of an idea, of desire, of the life force within. Multiple layers of colors build to create the desired textures and hues. His other painting series are similarly linked to nature, especially his Wind, Waves and Turbulence series, inspired by years of sailing on the Great Lakes. His work captures the live motion of the artist’s hand, layering spontaneity with control, and in that way, inspiring the viewer to see a fresh reality. These explosions of grace and power create an unexpected visual counterpoint. Dissonant, yet composed, the paintings display nuances that stretch the imagination and stoke the dreams of the viewer. Throughout his paintings Kleidon shows the influence of Asian calligraphy with its simplicity of broad, direct, graceful strokes.
In his most recent series, paint explodes out of the graphic borders to express an aggressive dynamic over the thoughtfully relaxed background textures. Appropriately enough, this series is called “Unleashed,” a title shared by a book Kleidon is writing and the public presentations he gives, encouraging others to unleash their imaginations as a way of unleashing their hidden passions.
Always the teacher, Kleidon wants the freedom, power and optimism of his paintings to enrich the lives of all who see and own them. “Experience the excitement of bold colors in motion and their abstract implications. Become saturated in their visual potential,” he says, but these are not the revelations of a tortured soul or the careful craft of a painterly painter. Kleidon has gone beyond to an interplay of meditation and inspired action, images living up to the best of Mid-Century painters, creating a new wave of artistic expression today.
Kleidon received a Master’s degree in Art from Illinois State University, a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Illinois Wesleyan University, studied architecture at the University of Illinois and taught at the University of Illinois and the University of Akron, where he developed Designer Grids, a perspective drawing system for architects, designers and artists once used by professionals around the world. He is the founder of Kleidon and Associates, a marketing communications firm. He has exhibited his work in solo and joint shows in galleries, museums and juried exhibitions throughout the United States. He now divides his time between his studios in Phoenix, Arizona, and Akron, Ohio.