Klaus Lange "Seaklaus"


An Essay by Val Stokes, Long Island, NY

Every ship’s hull tells a story – a painted one, that reveals a narrative in the abstract. Seaman and artist Klaus Lange focuses his camera on this wonderful narrative. The ship’s sea-worn hull, like a painted canvas, is the product of much life spent, much time passed, and much potential beauty found in the interim. It is a most poetic container of time and record that Lange’s camera brings into focus. His photographic images find the sublime in physical struggle and natural beauty. In such a way, his work references modernist abstraction. Yet, his work is a photographic representation of paint -- optically not unlike a Jules Olitski or Clifford Still painting. Lange’s work delicately transforms ships’ water-worn, sea-affected finish, into a heroic skin of painted abstraction. In essence, he finds and highlights intriguing moments of abstraction at sea. In this way his work is quite traditional, yet Lange’s unique subject matter – photographed paint, makes his work quite radical as well. Lange’s photographs are a simultaneous indulgence in, and criticism of, painterly expression. It is a rethinking of painting and photography’s visual mechanics. He offers a new way to see abstract painting, and simultaneously, a new way to see photography. Lange puts forth a new type of painting meta-narrative – the story of nature diminishing materiality, told through abstract photography. Quite amazing are the inventive and seemingly purposeful forms that the sea has worn onto certain ships. Lange’s abstraction is a thoughtful look at these stunning formations. Once mounted onto canvas, the photographic element of Lange’s work becomes less apparent. What initially appears to be a painting, upon second look is seen as a photographic Giclee print. The mounting and presentation of these photographs is a poignant commentary on painting, whereby the ship’s sea-worn story is told like that of an abstract expressionist’s.


Statement :


As a merchant seaman I photograph the worn paint on the sides of ships at sea. A ship’s hull is like a great expressionist canvas on which I portray both physical struggle and natural beauty, and with that, I capture the story told by the ship's own paint. Through my work I offer a new way to see abstract painting, and at the same time, a new way to see photography.

Exhibitions :

Raw Arts Festival, (Juried Group) London, UK, August 2004
Period Gallery (Juried), Lincoln, NE, May 2004
Gallery Now, (Juried) 2004 Online Exhibition
The Armory Show 2003/2004 (Juried) Online Exhibition
East Bay Pro Arts Exhibition (Group) Emeryville, CA, December 2003
17. Annual Celebration of the Arts (Juried), Emeryville, CA, October 2003
Watergate Art Exhibition, (Group), Emeryville, CA, June 2003
16. Annual Celebration of the Arts (Juried), Emeryville, CA, October 2002
Watergate Artist of the Month (Solo), Emeryville, CA, July 2002