Construct of Chance

Bangkok Post, March 30, 2011

Will Klose's encounter with Bangkok.

When i first visited New York City my experience was the same as many other tourists. I felt I already knew the place. Depending on your preferences, you might think you've woken in up in a Woody Allen movie or are wandering through Martin Scorsese's vision of the locality. You could be Edith Wharton or Carrie Bradshaw; or perhaps you recall artist David Wojnarwicz's gritty memoir of cruising for anonymous sex in the art gallery district that was once abandoned piers.

In a word, New York City has been extensively represented, documented and mythologised. In this respect, one can reasonably ask; what type of images of Bangkok city exist and and how do they make us think about this city?

This question came to mind when looking over Will Klose's panoramic and impressionistic paintings of Bangkok because Klose most immediately demonstrates the relentless indistinctness of our city's urban facades. What narratives can we imagine emerging from amidst these facades or project on to?

Even Bangkok's one exceptional architectural feature - glittering temples with pointed roofs - is lost amongst the shop houses, modernist this and that and condominium developments. Further, Klose's delicate brush work and a daring use of colour that comes from the close study of the effects of natural light claim an intimacy that ultimately reinforces this indistinctness by attempting to enliven the appearance of the city in this manner he draws attention to its resistant anonymousness .   

But therein lays a tension - between an ostensibly academic study of Bangkok's urban appearance and instant questions of greater meaning and significance - that keeps you looking at Klose's painted views of the city. There are no markers of individual life here. No faces peering from the countless windows or clothes-lines on balconies.

In the artist's few pictures of interiors, there are few signs of personal use. Instead we see an impressionist vision of times of day as light and shadow move across a variety of surfaces. This sense of passing time gives the work a melancholic touch insofar as it reminds us of the condition of memory. And, for those of us who know Bangkok, melancholia will be pronounced our city has now been emptied of individual understanding of it; all that makes it distinct. For those who don't know Bangkok, they can be left to wonder about the experience of these seemingly indifferent spaces.

A writer whose name I can't remember wrote that our deepest fears dwell behind the facades of the everyday. Klose's paintings capture a city as lulled, but when all seems so quite the potential for disaster can assume a great presence. this is the perception that we gain from these works, all the more palpable when we don't know where we are.

story; Brian Curtin


November, 2012

Exhibition Press Release.

H Gallery Bangkok is very pleased to announce an exhibition of paintings by Will Klose, his second solo at the gallery since 2011. British born Klose is a Bangkok emigre and his works are deceptively quiet views of spaces and places from his adopted city. Essentially enlivened by a sense of intense deliberation, he explores the momentary affects of light and shadow on the seemingly casual poses of his sitter or the happenstance arrangements of objects. A graduate of London's famous Camberwell College of Arts, Klose invigorates traditions notable to that school: naturalism, neo- romanticism and abstraction as advanced by teachers and alumni such as William Coldstream, Keith Vaughen, John Minton and Euan Uglow.

The title of this exhibition, "Witthayu", refers to the district in Bangkok where Klose and his family live. The paintings depict interior views, often occupied by his wife who sits or poses before windows and doorways; thresholds that function as the predominant motifs of this series. Figuration sometimes melds into abstraction as Klose's interest in light erases edges or definition with the play of tones. Time is captured so acutely that one becomes aware of imminent change, and this symbolically mirrors Klose's concern with interior and exterior, domestic and urban, the individual and the environment and, ultimately, familiarity and alienation; a subtly provocative response for someone continuing to negotiate foreign terrain.


February 2015

Exhibition Press Release.

H gallery is very pleased to announce Will Klose's third solo exhibition with the gallery, a new series of the British artist's most conceptually sophisticated paintings to date. Klose settled with his family in Bangkok in recent years and his previous works explored the strange anonymity of the city's infrastructure and benign sense of alienation and quiet dramas of domestic life in a foreign place. This new series is a stylistic departure while continuing to study his relationship to evolving personal history. "Disquiet" are a set of deceptively realist narratives unfolding on suburban London Streets, of the type where Klose grew up, and evoke metaphors of the familiar made strange as a means for Klose  to continue to trace his continuing sense of dislocation. A tacit context is what mean to directly comment on Thailand in the current political climate and hence values ambiguity. 

"Disquiet" gently described the facades of suburbia as signs of mystery and private dramas. Here the typical notion of suburbia as a site of contentment becomes the opposite. In this respect Klose's works have a corollary in Eric Fischl's painterly exploration of the the anxieties beneath the surfaces of affluence in middle class America. And both share a cinematic - epic and allegorical - view of their subject. But unlike Fischl, Klose eschews a visceral or dramatic approach to the influences of autobiography. The artist creates his paintings through assembled found images, drawings and images from his personal archive and the works carry a cool, considered quality. This brings us to a central concern of "Disquiet": the fragmentary nature of experience and memory and how we look to cultural symbols and forms to reflect the meanings of our personal lives.

Bangkok Post, February 25, 2015

Facades Of Normality.

.......There is a sense of utter mystification in making sense of the modern, urban world in Wachara's videos, which is continued in the series of paintings "Disquiet" by Will Klose, a new G1 Contemporary exhibition (until March 31).

Since its opening at the beginning of this month, the works have stayed in the back of my mind. This is not necessarily for his fine and realistic rendering of characters and narratives, as for the fact that the paintings felt oddly relevant to Thailand despite the fact that Klose's scenes were those of suburban London streets. 

Although set in scenes of normal and peaceful neighborhoods, each of Klose's paintings are anything but ordinary. They range from a man lying unconscious in the garden; a harmless looking house with a full team of forensic scientists digging in the garden; and a seemingly  pointless scene of the owner of the house stopping on his way to chat with a gardener. Klose's series of paintings have no sequence and is not readily comprehensible. Many are about the lurking catastrophe behind a beautiful facade, and maybe that's why it's so appropriate and poignant in a gallery in Thailand. Take one painting from this series for instance: a happy-looking house with fire and smoke rising from the back, yet life seems to on as normal, as if everything is fine.

Extracts from Kaona Pongpipat's article.


Between Intimacy and Estrangement

Very Personal View of Recent Work by William Klose

Painting is a record of both the inner and the outer life of the artist. It comes as a wonderful shock to me that someone I have known since he was a child has turned into such an extraordinary and marvellous painter. It shouldn’t be a shock, but it is!  Any true artist, I think, has to be an autodidact — it must be an act of self-learning, an inner drama slowly realised outwardly in fully resolved imagery. This has nothing to do with finish or completion: more to do with the tension, the holding together in some kind of equilibrium of opposing possibilities. As Cezanne has written, “a painting is complete from the first mark” — even if it then takes many years to actually bring it to completion. It is the intention, the meditation, that matters. This is how art has always been created: an act of transformation, a transmuting of the substance of ordinary life into something eternal.  If this strikes you as being rather highfalutin’, take a look at this exhibition of recent works by Will Klose. I think it embodies exactly what I am saying, wholly in his own, very personal language.  What gives the current paintings a particular resonance is the way they reflect and illuminate the artist’s life in Bangkok, even to the extent of including — I think for the first time — some self-portraits.  Again, to strike a personal note, I have been observing the evolution of Will’s work over a long period, starting with the paintings directly inspired by Blackheath in South-East London where he grew up. He was lucky enough to come from a wonderfully complicated artistic family background, and much of this is reflected in the early paintings.  But what makes the present exhibition so riveting is that suddenly his work seems to be wholly focused on his life in Bangkok. He has already painted many complex and touching portraits of his wife, but now the whole environment within which he works on the outskirts of Chiang Mai has taken on an enhanced importance. In my view, these are among the most striking images he has created.  Again to speak personally, I see an artist whose vision is now drawn from two very different worlds, lending an unusual depth and vitality to his work. The two come together finally to form an even more complex narrative.  Recently I acquired a book that, strangely, reminds me of this journey. The great literary critic William Empson, whose book Seven Types of Ambiguity is always by my wife’s bedside (I repeat, this is a very personal appreciation: Will has stayed with us in Ireland many times) — the great literary critic Empson lived in China for 20-odd years and became obsessively interested in sculptures of the face of Buddah. He sought them out all over China, Vietnam, Cambodia, etc., finally putting a text and photographs together for publication. When he brought the manuscript back to England it was accidentally left in the back of a taxi — only to turn up 50 years later. The book has now been published and it is by my side as I look at images of my friend’s marvellous paintings, created from two worlds!    

Jeffrey Morgan

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