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Movie Stills that are Anything But


Dawn Clements, Strewn, 2011, Sumi ink on handmade Dieu Donne paper, 59 x 98 inches (courtesy of Pierogi Gallery)

RISD Painting Critic Dawn Clements has a unique relationship to space. Her drawings, inspired by melodrama and film noir, range from small, framed works to room-sized panoramas. And like the movie sets that inspire her, they simultaneously depict worlds of lavish luxury and claustrophobic confinement. The Village Voice has aptly dubbed them “still lifes that refuse to be still.”

Clements herself also refuses to be still. In April she was awarded a 2012 Guggenheim Fellowship, joining several other RISD Painting faculty members who have received this prestigious award (most recently, Dennis Congdon, Dike Blair and Judith Glantzman-Leib) as well as faculty in Sculpture, Photography and Printmaking. Considered a mid-career award, the Guggenheim Fellowship recognizes impressive achievements as well as exceptional promise for the future. The award will allow Clements to spend more time in her studio while she completes work for a show next spring.

Her works are both large-scale and intimate, depicting the home (her own and those drawn from film) as places of both comfort and confinement. “They are places that, no matter how beautiful and wonderful they may appear, are incarcerating all of these characters,” she explains. “Everything happens indoors, inside these deluxe prisons of suburbia.”

She employs a meticulous process that uses drawings made from multiple scenes of a film to create composites, according to an interview with the Brooklyn Rail. “The result is an image that appears seamless but is in fact uncannily distorted – a constructed portrait of a space, both physical and psychological,” notes a curator from the Whitney Museum’s 2010 Biennial.

Clements’ work is held in many public and private collections, including the Museum of Modern Art (NYC), the Whitney Museum of American Art (NYC) and the Saatchi Collection (London). It has been included in numerous solo exhibitions and group shows – at MassMOCA, the Venice Biennale and the 2010 Whitney Biennial, as well as a current show, the 11th National Drawing Invitational at the Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock through September 9. In March 2013 Clements will show at Fondation Salomon in Alex, France.


related links:
Dawn Clements, 2012 Guggenheim Fellow
Dawn Clements at Pierogi 

tags: faculty, Painting

The men in this 1903 portrait class were serious about the business at hand.