Theo Kleynhans – "Quench my Soul"

by Cindy Paul

Theo Kleynhans is a deeply philosophical artist who uses his work to explore profound subjects such as memory and loss. "The mere fact that memory exists," he says, "is a portent of loss." In his paintings, he strives for what he calls "universal impact," drawing on the emotional states we all share that move us.

Abstract as Kleynhans’ intellectual approach to art may be, one could not classify it as strictly abstract art. Each canvas incorporates figures and symbols that are immediately identifiable, as in "Trancendental Memory," a gorgeously provocative, fantasy-laden acrylic. There are even some with photo-realistic subjects, such as "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter," another acrylic, also thought-provoking. "Do You Remember the Time" is a fine example of Kleynhans’ penchant for combining the utterly realistic graphic with the abstract-expressionistic.  In "Mutus Liber (The Mute Book)," we see an example  of the artist’s use of text to subtly decorate the background and enhance a picture.

"Quench my Soul" is a typical Kleynhans etching. These works are on the small side, measuring 14″ wide by 20″ high, and the color palette is a pleasant monochrome in shades of sepia. It is obvious that the artist is concentrating on drawing the viewer in and making him think. Symbols abound in "Quench my Soul" and the painting itself is fascinating. Large lily blossoms hover in the center of the canvas above a high-contrast grid below. Above them is a small rain cloud. Looking closer, we can see the flowers may represent a person’s third eye.