about the artist
Charles Clary was born in 1980 in Morristown, Tennessee. He received his BFA in painting with honors from Middle Tennessee State University and his MFA in painting from the Savannah College of Art and Design. He has shown in exhibitions at Galerie EVOLUTION-Pierre Cardin in Paris, France, Pierogi Gallery and Nancy Margolis Gallery in New York, Spoke art in San Francisco, and museum shows at Mesa Contemporary Art Museum, Gadsten Museum of Art, and Cornell Museum of Art. He has also completed a three week residency in Lacoste France, completed a painting assistantship with Joe Amrhein of Pierogi Gallery in Brooklyn NYC, and had work acquired by fashion designer Pierre Cardin and gallery owner James Cohan. Clary has been featured in numerous print and Internet interviews including, This Is Colossal, WIRED magazine (US and UK), Hi Fructose, Beautifuldecay.com, Bluecanvas Magazine, and This Is Colossal as well as a recent feature in American Craft Magazine.
He was also featured in the Art On Paper Art Fair with Kenise Barnes Fine Art. He has also been featured in publications including 500 Paper Objects, Paper Works, Paper Art, Papercraft 2, PUSH: Paper, and The New Twenties. Charles has exhibited regionally, nationally, and internationally in numerous solo and group shows, is represented by: Kenise Barnes Fine Art in Larchmont, NY, Diana Lowenstein Gallery in Miami, FL, and Patrajdas Contemporary Gallery in Ogden, Utah. Clary currently lives and works in Conway SC.
I use paper to create a world of fiction that challenges the viewer to suspend disbelief and venture into my fabricated reality. By layering paper I am able to build intriguing land formations that mimic viral colonies and concentric sound waves. These strange landmasses contaminate and infect the surfaces they inhabit transforming the space into something suitable for their gestation. Towers of paper and color jut into the viewer’s space inviting playful interactions between the viewer and this conceived world. These constructions question the notion of microbial outbreaks and their similarity to the visual representation of sound waves, transforming them into something more playful and inviting.
My most recent paper installation sculptures deal with the idea that music is an intangible virus, and we, the viewers, are the carriers that spread this “disease” from one space to another. Each paper tower resembles computer generated sound waves, petri dishes, bacterial and viral colonies, as well as fungal and mold growths; the towers represent the similarities that each share on the micro level. Context is removed, inviting the viewer to closely explore the work without fear of being infected. These works explore the constant “growth” of my installations, which if left alone to gestate, will eventually take over entire spaces, infesting every surface they touch. This ominous feeling is counter-balanced by bright, garish color schemes, which evoke playful interactions with each tower.
Recently, the work has become more personal, at least through the process of creation.
In February of 2013 I lost both my mother and father, two weeks apart, to smoking related cancers. It was a devastating time in my life, but I channeled my grief into the conceptual ideas of my work. Cancer is a disease that is a perfectly structured killer; it is beautiful in its architecture but grotesque in its eventuality. I began to think about nostalgia, longing for a childhood I never had, and parents that I needed. These thoughts brought me to the exploration of drywall and discarded wallpaper. The idea behind the more recent work using retro pop culture from my childhood is of order from chaos, beauty from destruction, and hope for more joyous times.