Tuesday, August 6, 2019
Keith Kleespies' puppet art
A wonderful show opened at PYRO Gallery this past weekend, by four artists working in various mixed mediums. Of particular interest to fiber fans was the installation by Keith Kleespies. Recently Keith was rooting around in his bookshelves and came upon a catalog for a show in England, sent to him many yeas ago by a friend and shelved without having been read. This time he opened it and was enthralled by the story of artist Andrzej Kuhn, who as a child was caught up in the evil of World War 2 and spent a decade as a refugee in the exotic landscapes of Kazakhstan, Iran, Palestine and Egypt before ending up as an artist in England.
Keith decided to make a children's book from the story, which would be illustrated by puppets. And the puppets are now on display at PYRO (he still needs to make a few more before the story is complete). The puppets have papier-mache heads and hands, and clothes made from all kinds of grab bag and second-hand-store fabrics and garments.
Keith has a good way with his people, whether drawn as cartoons or executed as 3-D puppets -- humorous and whimsical without being at all cutesy (a hard balance to strike). The installation will make you laugh, and maybe after you read the explanation on the wall, make you cry.
Don't miss it! At PYRO Gallery, 1006 E. Washington in Louisville, through September 17.