Jonathan Kline at Ralph Pucci

Jonathan Kline at Ralph Pucci


Jonathan Kline's black ash splint woven vessel and wall grid in Ralph Pucci's New York showroom with a table by Chris Lehrecke and a chair manufactured by Ecart International.

It's only appropriate that the New York gallery owner Ralph Pucci has combined forces with Jonathan Kline, a basket weaver and sculptor. Pucci's gallery and showroom is noted for its one-of-a-kind pieces, limited editions and works produced by the gallery itself. From mannequins, to furniture and lighting, to sculpture and fine art, Pucci is dedicated to venerating the hand of the artist. Since 2004, he has taken that tack with Kline, exhibiting his standing woven sculptures and "flat" woven wall grids.

In line with Pucci's reverence for the individuality of handmade pieces, the form and material of Kline's woven sculptures are reflections of the character and growth of the black ash trees he uses for these pieces. Each year, Kline strips the wood from logs that have been peeled of their bark and pounded to loosen their layers and transforms it into pliable strips. He then weaves them into immaculately crafted undulating forms that threaten to teeter but never fall. Despite the tree's transformation, its past is recorded in the irregularities of the wood-a visible history that Kline sees as the enmeshing of the natural world with the man-made.

Living and working just outside of Ithaca, New York, Kline has focused primarily on creating functional baskets in traditional styles for almost 25 years before gradually beginning to concentrate on more sculptural woven vessels in 2004. While he always had an interest in sculpture and architecture, it wasn't until he'd gained a deep understanding of the intricacies of weaving with black ash wood that creating forms other than baskets came to fruition.

Working with Pucci has been eye-opening, allowing Kline to pursue larger-scale objects. The 10,000-square-foot space with 12-foot-tall ceilings encourages sizable pieces and Kline has jumped at this opportunity, creating abstract standing sculptures anywhere from five to seven feet tall that reflect both human and tree forms. It is this interdependence with space that has always been important to Kline's work. "If I have a connection with the commission, it is more satisfying to create. It is more inspiring because I have a sense of where it is going." While Kline's works may be heading to Pucci's eclectic gallery, where they'll go next is anyone's guess.