Photo credit: Jerry Siegel - for BMetro magazine
“I try to create works that are so personal that they become universal.”
“My work invites the viewer to share my thoughts and feelings, while eliciting theirs.”

My first memories of art are the portrait drawings my father made for me, and my brother. These fascinated and delighted us with their simplicity line quality and whimsy of sketching our portrayal.

My father once hand -carved a motto on a piece of driftwood that stated, “WHEN I AM LOST I COME HERE TO FIND MYSELF”. These words described his feelings about being in the North woods. But I have found this mantra to be the exact feeling of going to my studio.

For much of her career, Kluge worked in metals and found objects. In 2007, she began to focus on ceramics, creating human-animal hybrid sculptures, vessels, and installations.

Kluge received her B.F.A. from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana and her M.F.A. from the University of Wisconsin. Following graduation, she moved to Birmingham to teach sculpture and drawing at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She retired as Professor Emerita in 2007. In addition to teaching, Kluge chaired the Department of Art and Art History (2000-2003), founded the M.A. in Education, and, with her husband, noted glass artist Cam Langley (1948-2013), established the Kluge-Langley Endowed Scholarship.

Kluge’s work has been widely published and exhibited at the Birmingham Museum of Art, the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C., the Havana Biennale, Havana Cuba, and A.I.R. Gallery in New York City. It is included in the collections of the Kamm Teapot Foundation in Encino, California, the Shengua Art Center in Nanjing, China, and the Huntsville and Mobile Museums of Art. Kluge’s is also included in numerous private collections.

Jessica Dallow, a Professor of Art and Art History, University of Alabama at Birmingham, in the publication “Alabama Creates, 200 years of Alabama Artists and Art” stated about Kluge’s work: “Motifs such as houses, animals, ladders, and female figures and faces that may be self-portraits, appear in her metalwork, ceramics, and found object collage sculpture. Often made of tough materials like fired clay, wood, and bronze, Kluge’s objects exude strength and fragility suggesting dualities inherent in us that emerge at critical junctures in our lives. Kluge’s artwork engages core elements of our humanity—our connections to family, nature, and home, our ever so important daily rituals, the significance of memory to identity, and our remarkable ability to gather strength and overcome loss…

Many objects feature birds, which are regarded as spiritual messengers, For Kluge, our co-existence with animals deepens our humanity. Animals can be life-affirming and life-giving. Home is not only a physical structure or geographic location, but the relationships that create and sustain it.”

Trained as a metalsmith, Kluge has continued to enlarge the scale and complexity of her work. Previously, most known for her small-scale mixed-media sculpture she is re-training and re-focusing her work by delving deeply into new methodologies and expressive formats. As a mid-career artist her work is evolving from object-based to more ephemeral, conceptual installation work. The themes in her work are autobiographical and narrative using symbolic imagery based on the transitory nature of life.

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