Abstract Notions

Red Dot by Jim Klein

Attend any modern art exhibit and you’re bound to overhear remarks like “my preschooler could do better” and “they want how much for that?”

While even the most educated art lover may have strong negative opinions about a piece that involves seemingly random brush strokes or splotches, there is much more than meets the eye behind the most well-known modern artworks. Indeed, there’s a rich history behind the abstract movement that can shed light on the value of this art form, and maybe enhance your appreciation as well.

Abstraction literally means to take something away from and that was the notion inspiring the artists of the late 19th century. The first signs of the movement can be traced to Impressionism, Post-Impressionism and Cubism, which all flirted with non-representational art. Expressionists like Henri Matisse focused more on color, shapes, and the emotions they evoked. Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali painted real things and people in an unreal manner. The artist most associated with the birth of the abstract movement was Wassily Kandinsky.

The commonality of these artists is that before experimenting with the non-representational, they were accomplished illustrators and painters. They understood perspective and color theory and the golden ratio – a compositional strategy in art. They saw modern art as an emotional response to the fundamental changes in society due to technology, the economy and philosophy.

Cloud Gate by Anish Kapoor

Artists throughout the last century continue to be inspired by the early movement of contemporary art – especially with popular and thriving urban centers around the world that are ideal for large, bold statements in paint and sculpture. Jim Klein can be counted as one of the inspired.


Meet Jim Klein

About two years ago, I was exploring the arts district in Scottsdale, soaking up the art, and looking for potential clients, when I entered the J Klein Gallery. It was a small space with vibrant colors and eye-catching canvases juxtaposed with traditional bronze sculptures of the animal world.

Turns out, I moved all the way from Colorado five years earlier to stumble upon a gallery featuring three familial artists from the very region I used to live! The owner, Jim Klein, splits his time between Scottsdale and Northern Colorado and created the space to showcase his own work as well as that of his nephew (Jeffrey Berryman) and cousin (Dan Ostermiller).

To make a long story short (haha, not likely), I ended up working with the gallery on some design projects and eventually came on as a part-time art consultant. This fulfilled a need for all involved and got me out of my pajamas and back into the joy of sharing art with the public.

Trappers Point by Jim Klein

As a former gallery owner, I sought to represent all types of art including abstract and non-traditional. I immediately appreciated Jim’s successful mix of interpretive and figurative imagery, with a broad, kaleidoscope of colors for his palette. His work is inspired by both Colorado and Arizona, flora and fauna, friends and strangers, as well as impulsive journeys through his own curiosity.


Speaking of journey, Jim’s artistic trajectory was not typical. Although he’s always been creative, his entrepreneurship was based in the agricultural industry. Upon retirement, he dipped back into painting and music and found a deeper well from which to draw. You’ll find conspicuous influences of his previous business and current farm life in many of his contemporary landscapes and the occasional cow.

“The subjects of my paintings are very seldom intentional. At a certain point, something takes over the brush, canvas, and paints and I have no control; the art goes where it goes,” explains Jim.

A man after my own heart, Jim relishes the marriage of art and story, often sharing his thought processes and sometimes humorous behind-the-canvas anecdotes. He doesn’t take the art world too seriously, and genuinely loves when his work makes people happy.

He gets it.

Before settling for a famous starry night poster or black & white photography for your own home collection, explore the diversity and delight behind names like Rothko, Pollock, af Klint and Klein. And next time you hear someone profess, “I just don’t get it!” remember that art appreciation doesn’t always require comprehension.

To learn more about Jim and the work at J Klein Gallery, visit here. Contact me for an exclusive 40% discount and free shipping while we’re closed due to the pandemic. [Portions of this post are from an article written by Susan Richards and reprinted with permission by DLP Marketing.]


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