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Matt Klos and Vincent Hron: Interiors

At The Howard County Center For The Arts Through April 25

By Kate Noonan | Posted 4/16/2008

Matt Klos and Vincent Hron examine public and private spaces in representational styles with two strikingly different perspectives in their current exhibition at the Howard County Center for the Arts. In their portrayals of the domestic sphere and the outside world, Klos and Hron reveal the breadth of often critically panned traditional representational art and highlight some of its best emotional and aesthetic attributes.

Klos uses a muted yet evocative palette and simplified geometric shapes in his sophisticated group of oil paintings and watercolors. Klos, the (controversial) recipient of the 2007 Bethesda Painting Award, provides an intimate view of the interior, the realm of his personal space. He captures the mundane moments of his daily life, and through his point of view you become an interactive participant in his paintings: a pot of water on a gas stove in his kitchen, a utility sink in his studio, a bride and groom smiling from a snapshot on the fridge, a chair waiting for someone by the sink. Certainly, his time isn't spent alone, but his paintings portray a persistent mood of quiet solitude and spirituality. Most perplexing of the group is "In Her Place," which initially reads as a Dutch vanitas-style still life of a partial skeleton and flowers. Upon further inspection, the dark canvas reveals a sinister foot propped on a chair in the background. Here, the artist plays upon latent fears of the unknown and unseen, placing the viewer firmly in a moment of anticipation and anxiety.

Hron's ornate and sometimes over-the-top works place his viewers firmly in the role of the outsider (his "Speer's," pictured). With the removed coolness of the camera, Hron paints from photographic angles, capturing moments in time with an obsessive attention to detail. Hron, an assistant professor of fine art at Bloomsburg University, records the patterns decorating textiles and architectural elements with painstaking precision and renders reflections of light on shining chrome with a hyper-realism reminiscent of Ralph Goings. His scenes--occasionally incorporating the figure but often focusing largely on quotidian objects of daily life--maintain an air of emotional ambiguity, allowing you to create your own narrative, which is sometimes influenced by his titles. "Migration," for example, depicts a messy family room filled with weary furniture strewn with a toddler's playthings. The toys--a giraffe scooter, rubber-duckie inner tube, pull-toy turtle, and multicolor worm--all face in the same direction, as if collectively plotting to venture forth into new territory. This humorous and humanist twist on a hyper-realist tradition lends the style a fresh perspective.

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