Water, which is finite and ever changing is critical to all of life and yet easily taken for granted. Water is also an inherent part of many religions, mythologies, and social mores. Sadly, people and corporations continually pollute and waste vast quantities of Earth’s water, while many countries struggle with drought, dysentery and cholera. Kellie Klein’s growing concern for our global water crises prompted her artistic investigation into the more enigmatic qualities of water. Klein’s belief in the restorative power of water, informs and inspires the work, which often alludes to the sublime element of nature.
Meditations on Water, is a series of digital color photographs that investigate bodies of water as a metaphor for human emotions. The work is a study of the universal temperament of water, and the environmental effects of light, color, and perception. Klein’s photographs investigate the visceral and meditative facets of water, by examining the serene, turbulent, and dynamic characteristics of lakes, rivers, and seas, with the majority of the work focused on Lake Michigan.
Whether a lake, an ocean, or the clouds in the sky, water is presented as a metaphor for human disposition. Just as the Gales of November affect the Great Lakes, Klein’s photographs remind us that individuals undergo equally tempestuous experiences. Throughout the work, water is conveyed as something that is as yielding, as restless, or as tranquil as the human mind. To emphasize the emotional qualities in the photographs, Klein presents us with long exposures and minimalist points of view. The sky, the quality of light, and clouds amplify the atmosphere, offering viewers a timeless moment of inner reflection.
Meditations on Water is a body of work triggered by global concerns, and motivated by the belief that water can carry us into “recesses of feeling” we might not have known existed. As a series, Klein’s images serve to remind viewers that water is a natural phenomenon that is as vast, mysterious, and fragile, as life itself.
Kellie Klein is a photographic artist living outside Chicago. She received her BA in Photography from Southern Illinois University and her MFA in Photography from Columbia College. For the past 30 years, Klein has been creating photographs that blur reality and question perception. She works in traditional and digital photography, as well as the 19th Century processes of cyanotype, Vandyke, and gum bichromate printing.
Often looking outward to reveal inner sensibilities, Klein’s current work reveals timeless moments of inner reflection. Meditations on Water, is a series of digital color photographs that investigate bodies of water as a metaphor for human emotions. Her photographs examine the visceral and meditative aspects of water, while focusing on the serene, turbulent, and dynamic characteristics of lakes and seas.
Klein’s work has been shown in numerous, galleries, museums, and universities including the Louvre, the Chicago Cultural Center, and the Indianapolis Art Center. Her work is included in many private and public collections. She has received grants from the Agfa Corporation, Columbia College, and the Illinois Arts Council. Klein has been a nominee for the International Color Awards, the Lucie Awards, and the Exposure Awards. She taught photography at College of DuPage, and has taught 19th century photographic techniques at colleges and workshops throughout the Midwest.