“Taking cues from Greco-Roman mythology, Micheline Klagsbrun often depicts women transforming into trees or flowers. Her new project also focuses on metamorphosis, but the protagonist is a goddess in astral form: Venus, the planet identified as both the morning and evening star. The D.C. artist’s Studio Gallery show, “Transit of Venus,” follows a cycle that beguiled sky-watchers in many ancient cultures.
Klagsbrun began by consulting a ledger of Venus’s 1874 transit across the sun, adding details from Mayan astronomy, celestial navigation and art history. Seashell forms make reference to Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus,” in which she stands on a giant scallop. This prompts a possible interpretation of the planet’s cycle as pregnancy and birth. The goddess sometimes appears in human form, as a dancer in the heavens, while an old sailing ship navigates her realm.
The artist is known for a mixed-media approach that expresses the fluidity of existence. Most of these pictures are cyanotypes (or blueprints) whose ghostly whites on night-sky blues are supplemented by pencil, ink and paint. Liquid gestures suggest milky ways across the universe, while layered images represent creation’s complexity. In Klagsbrun’s world, there’s always more beyond the visible, and something that’s about to change.”
-Mark Jenkins, the Washington Post, April 2019