I depict transformations from human to bird, from arm to wing, from male to female, from larva to
dragonfly, from dream to knowledge. For many years I have immersed myself in
Ovid’s Metamorphoses, and through his stories I explore moments of transformation itself,
moments of chaos when all is in flux and new forms are born. This work is about the processes of
change in all of us. We take a leap, grow wings, escape one life, emerge into a new self.
I paint in oils and also work in mixed media on paper, using various combinations of pastel, color
pencil, inks, watercolor and collage, building layers of color, texture and dream. In 2015 I began to
work in three dimensions, creating ephemerally light vessels composed of thin paper layers and
drawing fragments bound together with medium. These have evolved over the past few years into
large and small-scale sculptures, many of which incorporate organic elements.
Nature is a constant source of material. Several series of work, for example, WILDFLOWERS , are
based on actual plants, mostly orchids. Mysterious and exotic, orchids evoke many aspects of the
human body in their shapes and symmetry. In my work they become a point of departure for
imaginary hybrid forms that contain elements of different species. The BLOSSOMS OF LOSS AND
DESIRE series blends the Ovidian vision of the world of constant change with a scientist’s
perspective on those changes as embodied in the writings of Charles Darwin on the fertilization
I have always been fascinated by the parallels that can be found between cultures widely separated
by time and geography. In 2008 I was invited to exhibit at the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of
Venezuela in Washington DC. The result was MIRAR/MIRROR: An Exchange of Gazes , a solo show
for which I spent a year exploring the indigenous myths of the Amazon, discovering stories - of
magical rebirth, cosmic reptiles, the floods of chaos and creation - that paralleled those of the
Greek classics. In 2017 for REMAINS TO BE SEEN, a solo exhibition in Telluride Colorado, my
research into the beliefs and spiritual practice of the Utes (Nuche), native to the Colorado area,
found similar commonalities with Ovidian ideas and narratives.
In this most recent body of work, REMAINS TO BE SEEN, transformation continues to be my
theme. This work is also imbued with the universal reverence for the spirits and memories
contained in physical remains: skulls, bones, bark, snakeskin. From the “writing” of beetles on
bark to the impressions of mushrooms onto paper, I make visible the silent messages of the
Colorado mountain landscape. As such, it provides new habitations for my constant return to
my favorite theme – “the impermanence of images, ideas, and forms of being.” (A.
1662 33rd Street NW
Washington DC, 20007
STUDIO PHONE 202.215.6915
Board of Directors
The Phillips Collection, Board of Trustees
Vera List Center for Art and Politics, Advisory Council
Transformer, Board of Directors
Micheline Klagsbrun studied in Paris with Alfredo Echeverria and at the Corcoran with Bill Newman and Gene Davis. She has exhibited widely, and is in private collections nationally as well as in Europe and the Middle East. Recent solo and group exhibits in Washington D.C. include Arena Stage, gallery plan b, Studio Gallery, Exhibit9 Gallery, the Embassies of Finland and Venezuela, Smith Center for the Healing Arts, Covington and Burling, Adah Rose Gallery, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art; elsewhere, Macy Gallery (New York City), William Ris Gallery (Cape May NJ), Aswan, Egypt and Delhi, India. She will show at the Katzen Museum at American University in 2015.
For many years she co-chaired the Forum for the Psychoanalytic Study of Film, edited the journal “Projections” and was a mentor at the Corcoran School of Art.
She is co-founder and President of CrossCurrents Foundation (founded in 2006) which as part of its mission sponsors art to promote social justice and to heighten public engagement with key social issues.
FIRST, DO NO HARM
Released April 1, 2017
Green Art: Trees, Leaves, and Roots [Hardcover]
Ashley Rooney and Margery Goldberg, eds. Released February 28, 2014.
2010 HACKETT PUBLISHING COMPANY, INC.
In 2010, Hackett Publishing Company, Inc. requested the use of Micheline Klagsbrun’s painting “They Snaked Together (Cadmus and Harmonia)” for the book jacket for Ovid’s Metamorphoses, translated by renowned scholar Stanley Lombardo. Hackett books are distinguished by their high quality and generally recognized for original cover design.
The lotus, sacred in many cultures, was to the Ancient Greeks a transformed nymph, Lotis. The stories of Dryope and Lotis are intertwined, their beauties trapped together. Dryope, a lovely young mother, plucks a lotus, unaware that this blossom is a transformed nymph. The flower starts to drip blood, and Dryope suffers the fate of being turned into a tree.
This artistic collaboration offers a new translation of the story of Dryope and Lotus (Lotis) from Ovid's Metamorphoses.
Abraham Frank’s poetry is interleaved on each page with images by Micheline Klagsbrun and followed by Klagsbrun’s Artists Notes on her experience of working with these stories, exploring their layers of meaning, and the inspiration of the collaborative process.
Full color throughout.
14 pp, 6" x 11.5", signed by the artist. $25.00
Available through www.studiogallerydc.com
You're a beautiful draftsperson. Your figures seem to move from one state to another. You are painting narrative subjects, but your intent is beyond the narrative. I love the idea of leaving the narrative to convey something outside the narrative - the instant of transformational..I guess the process of painting itself is a metaphor for transformation. That's what I like about your recent paintings, like “Medusa Incarnate”. It's as much about the materials as the form, it's all happening now, together, at once. Your work is transforming into something very exciting. (interview excerpt, Dec 2010).
Jack Rasmussen, Director and Curator, American University Museum.
Micheline Klagsbrun and the Ovidian looking glass Copyright Aneta Georgievska-Shine 2009.
Georgievska-Shine is an independent scholar specializing in Northern Baroque and Renaissance art. In addition to her affiliation with University of Maryland as a part-time faculty member, she is a frequent guest lecturer for museums and art institutions including the Smithsonian, and has held several museum fellowships at prestigious institutions. Her publications include numerous articles in U.S. and international journals, essays in exhibition catalogs, as well as a book on Peter Paul Rubens.
Metabolizing the Metamorphoses of Ovid Copyright Micheline Klagsbrun 2009.
To be published in Amphora, the journal of the American Philological Association, Vol 8 (1). In this article I discuss how and why a visual artist turns to the 2,000-year old writings of a classical poet as a source of inspiration.