Hedy Klineman was raised in Brooklyn and, by her teenage years, had already been drawn into the world of art and design.
She attended two progressive art programmes, the first at a private day school near her home, where Klineman recalls her teachers encouraging her to be bold and resourceful about the construction of stage sets and installations, and then at the Brooklyn Museum School, which was a highly selective magnet for serious young art students during the 1950s. During the 1960s Klineman attended the Cooper Union, where she took courses in sculpture, architecture and calligraphy and enjoyed the experimental syllabus which was used at the time.
Originally drawn particularly to paintings of the figure, during the 1970s Klineman’s style was refined to incorporate new textures and surfaces, starting with antique damask tablecloths and moving on to silks and other fabrics.
In the 1990s, her style was further refined, principally as a result of her serious studies in meditation and yoga. In her work, this shift is indicated in the series of Chakra paintings she undertook at the end of the 1980s, for which the tactile qualities were enhanced by her covering of canvases with gauze and her use of rich surfaces and vibrant colours. After completing her Chakra paintings, she began to experiment with paintings inspired by her growing interest in the Asian philosophies of spiritual enlightenment and physical wellbeing. In particular, she began to paint Buddhist deities, the first of which was based on a head of Kwan Yin and which was created as a silkscreen.
Klineman prefers to print her own silkscreens and has combined the medium with overpainting, underpainting and embossing, as well as using unusual surfaces including canvases, fabric, wood and plexiglass. Her work has been noted for its “unerring talent for blending traditional and contemporary elements into visual poetry”.