New Work by Paul Vincent Bernard and Vanessa Clarke

New paintings by Salt Lake artist Paul Vincent Bernard, and stone sculptures by New Mexico artist Vanessa ClarkeAugust 1, 2011 – October 1, 2011
Paul Vincent Bernard is a Salt Lake printmaker and painter who creates minimalist landscapes– abstract shapes, paths, and margins inspired by the spare Utah geography. Bernard’s sensibilities as a painter are informed by his printmaking training. As Bernard describes his process:

“My current work moves between the disciplines of print and painting. I explore the inherent drawing and mark making vocabularies that are possible with both. I scribe marks on enamel-coated metal plates or on oil-painted hardboard which in the end seem to cross the disciplines of both painting and printmaking. As I work I drag paint, wipe paint, and make drypoint lines in paint while working both on wet and dry medium.”

The resulting pieces feature dark monoliths and deep black forms that are threaded with slender fissures, edged in loose, fast scrawls, and often jut into only the merest slip of pale horizon. He’s known for his deep, light-absorbing, limitless blacks; an interest influenced by the work of art luminary Richard Serra. Also like Serra, who says that “work leads to other work,” Bernard notes that each piece he works on gives him ideas for other directions that he can pursue. Utah’s large buttes and mesas provide a starting point for many of his paintings. The simple forms that inhabit Bernard’s work are activated with busy crosshatches, scribbles, or numbers in a way that leaves the finished piece with not just gravity, but also energy.

Vanessa Clarke For all the weight of Vanessa Clarke’s monumental stone forms, there is also something delicate – or, if not delicate, certainly graceful in her works. The lines of her pieces – abstract looping, arching forms made of fused stone – are organic and serene, though the contrasting stones create a geometric feel. Clark says:

“I am struck by the relations of the lines, angels, and balance of the elements in my environment. I become aware of the harmony inherent in everyday chaos and I translate that synchronization into textures and forms. When I sculpt I am very physical and passionate with the stone I am carving. I feel my way through each cut allowing the inherent beauty of the stone to naturally inform my process.”

The resulting abstracts have a fractured look that is open to interpretation and reminiscent of Russian Rayonissme, a style celebrating the forms and reflections created in the junction of intersecting rays.

Clarke’s sculpture and paintings have been exhibited at the Museum of Science and Industry as well as the Smart Museum, both in Chicago. She holds a BFA degree from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and has studied at Artist Studio Exchange Program in Florence, Italy, and at the Burren College of Art, County Clair, Ireland. In 1998 she was awarded the Ethel Morrison Van Derlip Traveling Scholarship Award in Fine Arts.