Roaming the shores
For 400 years, wild horses have roamed the shores of North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Early explorers from Spain, put in a difficult spot, had to ditch their cargo, including horses, and the creatures have thrived on the island ever since. These majestic creatures are the subject of Michael Klein’s upcoming solo exhibition at Maxwell Alexander Gallery.
Klein stumbled upon the theme after moving from New York City to North Carolina. “These horses have been doing the same thing for hundreds of years, just grazing the lands, and as a subject they haven’t changed at all,” Klein says. “The imagery is really incredible. It felt very European, and very historical, and yet it exists right in front of us.”
In Kindred Spirits, Klein portrays his wife, admiring two horses in a stall. “These are private horses, where a guide will take you on a ride to see the wild horses,” he explains. “The image alludes to my wife’s tenderness.”
A group of the coastal horses congregates on the shore in Winter Survival. They graze on the dormant grass, half covered in a layer of snow. “These horses were basically untouched until the 20th century, and then they got diminished because of a bounty set on them in the 1930s,” Klein says. “Now, there are a few nonprofits that protect them.”
The show also features work from outside the horse theme. Future Legacy, San Carlos was inspired by Klein’s visit to the San Carlos Nation Apache Reservation in Scottsdale, Arizona. “I went with a friend who was born there to help do some construction,” he says. “The experience made me think about the future of the reservation, and it gave me inspiration to do something that would give respect to that part of the Western market.”
Klein’s show at Maxwell Alexander opens December 8, with a reception taking place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.