On July 25, 2014 The Clement Art Gallery will open a group exhibition of thirteen national and international artists entitled: “of Beauties and Beasts”. An opening reception will take place on Friday July 25 from 6-9pm. The exhibition will run through September 20. A small exhibition catalogue will be produced and available at the end of August.

This exhibition will feature the work of thirteen diverse and talented artists whose work is filled with grace, mystery and elegance.

Exhibiting Artists include:

Claus Brusen, Russell Gordon, Jon Christopher Gernon, Spring Hofeldt, Caitlin Hackett, Steven Kenny, Richard A. Kirk, Jennifer Knaus, Scherer & Ouporov, Rodney Wood, Jeff Wigman, Benjamin Vierling, Igor Grechanyk

Claus Brusen

Claus Brusen is an award-winning artist, a curator, and a publisher. He is the author of Dreamscape 1, Dreamscape 2, Galleri Brusen, H.C. Andersen, and Venus and the Female Intuition. His paintings are on permanent display at Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen and they have been sold and exhibited throughout Europe and the United States. He is the founder of the Center for Art and Imaginary Realism, a cofounder and member of International Fantasy Realism, and a member of the Society for Art of the Imagination.

Russell Gordon

Born in 1968, Russell Gordon received his undergraduate and graduate art education at the Schuler School of Fine Arts in Baltimore.

With subjects ranging from tabletop still lifes to florals, nudes to naturalistic studies, Russell Gordon’s works evoke an old world feel but often with a decidedly contemporary twist. These richly detailed and carefully composed paintings reflect Dutch Golden Era and Italian Renaissance sensibilities, yet remind us that simple and natural beauty are timeless and unchanged.Gordon’s paintings vary in subject matter, from classical tabletop still lifes to naturalistic studies to surrealistic narrative scenes. Often combining layered symbolism and a subtle wit, Russell builds each work with carefully applied layers of oil paint and a strong sense of light and dark. Worked directly from life, the paintings invite the eye into windows of alternate but convincing reality without hesitation or reluctance. Viewers are often reminded of 17th-century Dutch vanitas themes which hint at life’s fragility while reveling in it’s pleasures. Russell’s works playfully involve contemporary subject matters in often ancient mythic narratives. The result is thought provoking and ultimately satisfying to both the eye and the mind.

In 1996, Russell Gordon won first prize for still lifes in the annual national open juried contest sponsored by The Artist’s Magazine.He was also the featured cover artist of American Artist Magazine (April 2000) and received a Juror’s Mention award from the Butler Institute of American Art in June 2000. His work has been exhibited in the national open juried shows of the Allied Artists of America (1994 and 1995), the American Artists Professional League (1995), and the Oil Painters of America (1996).

Jon Christopher Gernon

My work draws from pieces of the past, whether it’s the inspiration I derive from ancient mythology or the centuries-old techniques that I use in creating my art. In this way, I strive to bring the past and the present together. Using elements associated with symbolism and the fantastique, I blend history with contemporary figures and ideas.

With my work, I try to bring the use of classical techniques and subject matter into the 21st century. In doing so, I allow my art to tell stories, but stories the viewer could construct on their own, unconstrained by whatever my ideas of the stories are.

In the end, I’m simply trying to make a beautiful image, regardless of whether or not some art critics would consider that to be kitschy or sentimental.

Jon Gernon’s work has been included in over thirty group and solo exhibitions in the past twenty years. Selected work has been included in such exhibitions as; The Kinsey Institute at Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, Contemporary Icons: Tempera at Westfield State College in Massachusetts, Art Connections: the George Segal Gallery at Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ, The Katherine Butler Gallery in Sarasota, FL, The New Jersey Arts Incubator Program in West Essex, NJ, The Hyde Collection in Glens Falls, NY. His work is in private and corporate collections in The United States, Canada & Europe.

Spring Hofeldt

Each of my works immerse the viewer in a metaphor of day-to-day life. Whether you’re a cynic or a sunshine, we can all relate to making light of such trials and tribulations. I illustrate this in my work by capturing the character and spunk of the subject matter, bringing it to life in a simple place setting.

Spring Hofeldt is painter based in Brooklyn, NY. She earned a BFA in Commercial Art, with an emphasis in Illustration at Central Missouri State University in 2001. Since then she has shown her work in galleries across the country, along with facilitating exhibitions and events throughout Brooklyn and Upstate NY.

Caitlin Hackett

My passion for nature, biology and mythology has inspired my art since I first put pencil to paper as child. All of these different facets tell a similar story of dramatic, often violent change; In Mythology there are gods who transform into beasts to interact with man kind, gods who were born with the heads of animals or a multitude of limbs, and of course deities who curse humans to take on animal or plant forms as punishment or escape. In addition to the myriad gods and demi gods there are the mythological mutants as well – the Hydra, the Minotaur, Cerberus and more – creatures whose mutations were both a source of power and fear, trapping them in a deadly cycle.

Mirroring those ancient myths in often grotesque ways we find in contemporary times that animals are being transformed biologically due to harmful interactions with human pollutants; there are frogs with triplicate legs and blind eyes, cows with shriveled sets of legs growing out of their backs, two faced piglets being born on factory farms and radioactive fish rotting from the inside in poisoned seas, plus so many more. I am interested in the power of these mutations both for their mythological allusions as well as their dire environmental implications. I hope to remind those who view my artwork that we too are animals, embedded in this fragile world even as we poison it.

My work alludes to the boundaries that separate humans from animals both physically and metaphysically, and the way in which these boundaries are warped by science, mythology, and religion alike. I use my work as a commentary on the clash between science, religion and culture over what it means to be human, and thus, what separates us from the Beasts of the wild.

I create pseudo-mythical, mutated, and anthropomorphic creatures using ballpoint pen and watercolor as my primary mediums. In my work I attempt to capture the often volatile human-animal relationship as well as a reflection of my own sorrow over the loss of wild species and wild places.

I am faced with the fact that we live in a planet in decline, where nearly every natural ecosystem in the world is withering to dust. Human kind has created a planet of refugees; animals forced to flee ever farther from the insatiable encroachment of urban development, victims of a war for space which they cannot hope to win. Like the gods of so many myths we humans have warped the world into our own image, and it is this often frightening image I hope to reflect in my work.

Steven Kenny

Steven Kenny was born in Peekskill, New York in 1962. He attended the Rhode Island School of Design, receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1984. His final year of art school was spent studying independently in Rome. This direct exposure to European art (especially the Baroque works of the Italian, Dutch and Flemish schools) had a significant effect on his painting style.

First settling in New York City, he gained notoriety as a freelance commercial illustrator. Clients included Sony Music, Time Magazine, AT&T, United Airlines, Celestial Seasonings, Microsoft and many others. His illustrations repeatedly received awards from the Society of Illustrators, Communication Arts Magazine and the Art Directors’ Club of New York.

In 1997 Steven turned away from illustration in order to devote his full attention to the fine arts. Since that time he has lived in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and his home state of New York before settling in St Petersburg, Florida. His award-winning paintings are exhibited in galleries across the United States and Europe.

From an early age the beauty and mystery of nature have deeply influenced his chosen subject matter: compositions that most often combine the human figure with elements from nature to comment on our interactions with the environment while symbolically alluding to the dynamics of human nature in general.

Richard A. Kirk

“Richard A. Kirk is a Canadian visual artist, illustrator, and author. He exhibits internationally.

Richard has illustrated works by Clive Barker, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Christopher Golden, China Mieville, the rock band Korn and others.

Born in Kingston Upon Hull, Yorkshire in 1962 Richard moved to Canada with his family in 1968, settling in Southwestern Ontario. Richard was always interested in drawing and through the years has found inspiration in nature, literature, art, and illustrators of the 19th and 20th century.”

Jennifer Knaus

The Imagery I create comes from an interest in combining female iconography with still life painting. Each image is an amalgamation of various attractions such as Art History, my back yard, the salad bar at Stop and Shop, retro kitsch, etc. The image usually starts with myself, or with a friend, and then gets taken apart and reassembled with other things. Although the results may seem surreal, I am more inspired by the Surrealists techniques of tapping into the subconcious rather than by actual Surrealist painting. I have a desire to personalize idealized notions of beauty and importance. To embellish icons with humor and a little absurdity but also within those details to suggest a narrative that is mysterious and atmospheric.

Scherer & Ouporov

American-born Suzanne Scherer and Russian-born Pavel Ouporov are a collaborative team who met while studying at the renowned Moscow Surikov State Academy Art Institute—one of Russia’s two institutions of higher arts education and part of the Russian Academy of Arts established in 1757 by Peter the Great. Scherer earned a BFA from Florida State University, an MFA from Brooklyn College, and received an International Research & Exchanges Board Award to be the first American visual artist accepted into the Russian Academy of Arts during the Soviet period. At the age of 11, Ouporov won admittance into the Moscow State Academy Art Lyceum, graduated at 18, and earned a Master of Fine Arts from the Moscow Surikov State Academy Art Institute.

Scherer & Ouporov have received international recognition for their collaborative works. Museum exhibitions include the Library of Congress and Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC; Museum of Contemporary Art, Goldman Warehouse and Bass Museum, Miami; Historical Museum of the City of Vienna; World Financial Center, NY; Institute of Contemporary Art, Moscow; Passage de Retz, Paris; Boston Center for the Arts; Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, Kansas City; and the Frye Art Museum, Seattle. Their works are in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Harvard University Fogg Art Museum, the Library of Congress, New York Public Library, NY, and The State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg, among others. They are one of ten international artists featured in Gustav Klimt: The Ronald S. Lauder and Serge Sabarsky Collections monograph that explores Klimt’s influence among today’s leading contemporary artists. Their work has been reviewed extensively in many publications such as Art In America, ArtNews, The New York Times, The New Yorker, and featured on PBS and Public Affairs Television. Awards include a NY Artist’s Fellowship, Mid-Atlantic Visual Arts Grant and a South Florida Cultural Consortium Fellowship for Visual and Media Artists. A comprehensive hard cover publication, As Above, So Below: Recent Work by Scherer & Ouporov, was published in conjunction with their solo exhibition at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art at Auburn University. The artists’ paintings are represented by ACA Galleries in New York, Arden Gallery in Boston, Evoke Gallery in Santa Fe, and Kavachnina Contemporary in Miami. Their original prints are represented by the Mezzanine Gallery of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Rodney Wood

In years past Rodney Wood was considered by many as the ubiquitous “art guy” of many hats. His true passion lies in a life-long devotion to the Arts. Rodney is an artist that who has also been an educator, arts advocate, and entrepreneur. Born and raised in Colorado, he has lived in places as diverse as Breckenridge, San Francisco, Santa Fe and Sedona but would often return to family in the Rocky Mountains. His art career has included: gallery owner, bronze foundry worker, teacher (private/public institutions – elementary through college), curator, preparator, jewelry designer and marketing director/consultant. As an artist his past work focused on mixed media sculpture, jewelry and metal smithing. He has had solo exhibitions in photography, drawing, printmaking and sculpture but his focus has been on painting for the last 10+ years. Painting has become an obsession and will likely be the media of choice for the rest of his life.

While art is his guiding passion, his life has lead him down many paths. These have included corporate trainer/consultant, ski instructor and as a fencing/pentathlon coach/trainer at the US Olympic Training Center. A gifted and inspirational teacher & motivator, for years he presented workshops and seminars in “Creativity” to groups of all kinds – artists, corporations, non-profit boards, educators and students of all ages. He taught numerous art disciplines: art history, art business, drawing, sculpture, art appreciation and jewerly/metalsmithing. He has served on many boards and steering committees. Mr. Wood has also served as arts administrator – ie: Executive Director @ an non-profit arts incubator, the Business of Art Center in Manitou Springs CO. and former Director of the Colorado State Fair Fine Arts Exhibition. He has curated well over 200 exhibitions and juried/judged at least 100 exhibits.

Jeff Wigman

Jeff Wigman studied painting and sculpture at Parsons School of Design in New York City (1992). He works mostly in oil and monotype using representational imagery, but also focuses attention on the bare materials of his art. With an eye on the past, Jeff agrees to Milton Glaser’s suggestion “that all paintings are inherently abstract”—that even with so-called naturalism, there is a non-conceptual response to basic shapes and colors. He is drawn to mystery, humor, and delight. Though they are not always sweet, Jeff consciously avoids images that arise from complaint or negativity. He lives and works in Troy, NY.

Benjamin Vierling

Benjamin A. Vierling is known for his diversely applied renderings of arcane subjects. Born in 1974, he developed an affinity with the fine arts during his childhood in San Francisco, and has studied independently in the United States and in Europe. Using predominantly a 15th century technique of mixing egg tempera & oil pigments, his work exalts the aesthetic ideal that art has the ability to unify disparate paradigms. Mythical references are integrated with contemporary subjects to bridge the timeless with the ephemeral in his iconic compositions. Vierling’s paintings are exhibited internationally, most recently in Seattle, New York, Cologne, and Berlin. His meticulously researched illustrations have accompanied translations of renaissance alchemical texts, including Count Michael Maier’s arcane allegory, Jocus Severus, published by Ouroboros Press. Vierling’s emblematic imagery has further adorned numerous book and album covers, including Daniel Schulke’s study of witchcraft and poisons, Veneficium, as well as Joanna Newsom’s critically acclaimed symphonic folk record, Ys.

A Decennary Retrospective of Vierling’s work was shown in 2014 at the Gage Academy of Art, a classical painting school inSeattle, Washington. The exhibition showcased previously unexhibited works, select paintings on loan from private collections, preliminary drawings, and various illustrations, to provide a unique view of Vierling’s diverse oeuvre from the previous 10 years. A concurrent lecture was given at the school, The Synthesis of Conflicting Forces, in which the artist discussed his techniques, influences and working processes. “What makes the act of painting so profound is the actual process of seeing and rendering; the bridge from eye to hand. It’s an endeavor that literally evokes an inchoate vision and gives it a physical presence. The art lies in tempering inspiration with the structure of technique.”

Igor Grechanyk

Igor Grechanyk was born in Kiev, Ukraine on August 10th, 1960. Raised in an artistic family, and taking great interest in art and drawing from his early years, he went to Republican Art School, and graduated in 1978. In 1984 he graduated from the State Art Institute in Kiev. Nowadays, his work and talent has made Igor Grechanyk an integral part of the pleiad of renowned contemporary artists. Numerous exhibitions of his works all over the world have invariably enjoyed success. His style is well known in the artistic circles on the global level. Exquisite bronze creations of Igor Grechanyk charm the beholder with their magical harmony. These images – surreal and symbolical – cross a boundary into the unknown realm, impressive in their gracefulness and force of inner energy. Unusual combinations of textures, gestures of the sculptural images reveal the existence of a hidden mystery both within the universe and a human being, give an impulse to break through into the world of imagination.

Igor Grechanyk is a member of the National Artists Union of Ukraine, member of the for Art of Imagination Society, London and a leader of Creative Association “The Golden Gate”, founded in 1997 in Kiev. Grechanyk’s works are held in private and museum collections in Ukraine and throughout the world and were included in the international catalogues of best artists of the world in contemporary imaginary art. Igor Grechanyk has Ukrainian and international awards. In 2011 he received a special Flame of Peace award from the Habsburg-Lothringen Imperial Family of Austria as a Cultural Ambassador for Peace. He is a creator of a number of monumental works. The latest one is the monument to Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko installed in Sofia (Bulgaria) in 2009 and made in his inherent imaginary manner. Currently he resides and works in Kiev, Ukraine.