GVSU Haas Center for Performing Arts Gallery, Allendale Campus
March 4, 2021 - April 9, 2021
Artists grant us the rare privilege of seeing through their eyes. Vera Klement’s paintings show us a powerful, personal vision of what she conceives with her mind’s eye. In a career spanning over six decades, Klement's work reflects an amalgamation of her many influences. From classical music to literature to modern art, these themes are filtered through her early formative experience fleeing the Nazis with her family just before World War II and a lifetime examining that loss of home and identity.
Born in 1929 in the Free City of Danzig, now Gdańsk in Poland, Klement’s childhood was imbued with music and literature primarily from her mother, a pianist. The family fled Europe following Kristallnacht (the Night of Broken Glass) in 1938 and settled in New York, where she studied art and was exposed to Cubism and Abstract Expressionism. In 1964 she moved to Chicago where she became active in the feminist movement, taught for 25 years at the University of Chicago, and developed her work into the powerful metaphoric and poetic images for which she became known.
The GVSU Art Gallery, in collaboration with the Zolla/Liberman Gallery in Chicago, presents an overview of Klement's career from the last 40 years. Light and dark, beauty and evil, life and death, joy and sorrow are common themes found throughout this body of work. Drawing on her memories and experience, Klement often pairs two symbolic objects or images that juxtapose and carry these themes on her canvases like a personal poem. Amongst the controlled chaos of each piece, these “poem paintings” confront the viewer with hints of her past, a nostalgic longing for what is forever lost.
See more Vera Klement work in the GVSU Art Collection.
The life and work of Vera Klement
Click the image below to view an interactive timeline of Vera Klement's life events, artwork, and influences.
Click any image below to view it large in a new tab. For additional label and exhibition information, view the 3D virtual tour.
A quick-reference guide for educators interested in incorporating the exhibition content into their teaching.
A 50+ page catalog featuring Vera Klement's artwork in the exhibition accompanied by an introductory essay by Max Klement.
Check out the following GVSU Library books and articles covering key themes and other content related to the exhibition. Or use the Libraries Catalog to find more books and articles.
Thank you to Amber Dierking and Kim Ranger with the GVSU Libraries for their guidance in compiling this list.
Click any image to open a PDF list of reading recommendations in a new tab.
Events & Activities
March 4, 2021 - April 9, 2021
Haas Center for Performing Arts Gallery
Haas Center for Performing Arts
1 Campus Dr.
Allendale, MI 49401
Monday 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Thursday 1:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Friday 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.