Leila Heller is pleased to announce John Clement’s solo exhibition, “Speedway”.
“Speedway,” Clement’s debut exhibition with Leila Heller, consists of five sculptures, two wall works, and a set of lithographs and photographs. The show itself is titled after one of the sculptures in the exhibition, Speedway, for embodying the overall feeling of the show and the themes of speed, racing, and cars.
Although Clement does not obsess over surfaces, he does appreciate the use of bright, fast colors to help see the overall form of a work. “My process as a sculptor has me forever thinking of three-dimensional space and how we (us and the objects all around ) exist within it. Positive and negative space, tangents, points of contact, and separation, all factor into an unknown visual language silently spoken between myself and the work. All day, every day it is on my mind. I am forever thinking about form, volume, shape, and implied movement.”
The works, some on a new scale and some on the wall are another step in Clement’s progression to understand the visual language of his process. “Dino”, painted in Roso Corsa Red ( also known as Ferrari Red ), is named after the fabled ‘Dino SP’ model put forth by Ferrari in 1961. “Daytona”, painted in a fast orange fade into yellow, reminded Clement of the race cars he used to watch hurtling around the track at the Daytona 500. “Speedway”, the show's namesake, is named after the color itself, Speedway Blue, from the Toyota Racing Program. “Antares”, also painted in Ferrari Red, is named for the brightest star in the constellation Scorpius. “Tales of Brave Ulysses,” a larger wall work of coiled and bent aluminum sandblasted and sealed, is titled after the song made famous by the band Cream. The work itself, a departure from previous pieces, was, as the artist says, “a journey filled with pitfalls, intrigue, doubt and eventually understanding.”
A student of such acclaimed artists as Marc di Suvero and John Henry, John Clement’s geometric work follows a similar tradition of large-scale Constructivist-inspired sculpture and yet breaks the boundaries of the genre by constantly playing with the ideas of form and space in curvilinear compositions. His work juxtaposes a variety of playing steel coils and arcs that, layered on top of one another, take on a life of their own. While today Clement focuses primarily on large-scale outdoor work, reminiscent of both di Suvero and Henry’s association with public sculpture, his smaller works are, on their own volition, about to swivel about on their bases and spin about in space.
Clement’s dynamic and dramatic union of form, line, and negative space emphasizes the impression of implied movement. After receiving a BA from the University of Pennsylvania in 1992, Clement studied briefly at New York’s School of Visual Arts before moving on to work with di Suvero and Henry in the 1990s. In addition to numerous gallery exhibitions, Clement has also completed many public commissions and installations across the United States and abroad. John lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife Jean and children Kini and Duke. The love and support he receives from his family is a major force in his creativity.