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Art professor displays sabbatical paintings

Art+professor+Matt+Klos+speaks+at+a+gallery+event+for+his+new+exhibit+in+the+Cade+Gallery+in+February.
Mason Hood
Art professor Matt Klos speaks at a gallery event for his new exhibit in the Cade Gallery in February.

An AACC art professor will display 70 oil paintings he made of buildings in his community at the Cade Gallery from Feb.1 to Feb. 29.
Matt Klos walked through his neighborhood, Sparrows Point in Baltimore County with an easel and canvas every day while he was on sabbatical last spring to create the paintings, collectively titled, “A Community Portrait.”
“This is just some random neighborhood in the middle of Nowhere, Maryland, [but] it’s really fascinating,” Klos said. “If you take some time, everything can be pretty inspirational.”
Klos said he spent three to four hours on each small painting, completing most of them “plein-air,” meaning he painted them outdoors and on-site.
“Sometimes I’ll work on [them] a little bit when I get back to the studio, but for the most part, I try to just do them outside on-site and in one session,” Klos said. “They’re supposed to be kind of like one-and-done.”
The exhibit also will feature Baltimore painter Nora Sturges, a Towson professor. Sturges used Google Street View to trace a route Charles Darwin took through South America, and then to paint the buildings she saw on the app.
The painters’ exhibit is called “Street View.”
Klos said his paintings focus on “the areas of our public-facing spaces that … we don’t really consider.
“We consider our front door, but we don’t necessarily consider our back alley or the garage or things like that, and they’re just so unique,” Klos said. “So I was, you know, just setting out to do all of these paintings of those particular spaces, of those sheds and outbuildings.”
Klos said he “had a conversation with this landscaper one day who was out there finishing up his job and I was painting this house, and he was like, ‘Isn’t it beautiful out here?’” but also, “you have other people that are like, ‘Why are you painting that?’”
Klos said he worked on the paintings for a year, continuing even after his spring sabbatical ended.
Klos said the motivation to work on a long-term art project “ebbs and flows,” but he always found a way to “get back out there.”
“There were days where I was like, ‘I hate what I’m doing, you know, hate what I’m making; it’s not working out; maybe the whole idea is bad,’” Klos said. “Sometimes you get it, sometimes you miss.”
In fact, he said, he decided not to show a number of paintings he made for the collection. “There are some that are better left sanded down and painted over,” he said.
Klos added: “For every real s–tty painting experience you have, you remember those … really amazing transcendental experiences you’ve had, and you’re like, ‘Alright, this is just part of karma. This is a karmic balance.’”
Klos said the experience helped him relate to students and improved his teaching.
“One of the greatest things about educators that are practitioners … be it music, be it science, whatever else, is you have, you know, sort of that sense of beginner’s mind,” Klos said. “Students are coming with those struggles. So when you’re in that place of those struggles, you’re like, ‘I get it.’”

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