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UPDATE ON THE PAINTING SHOW AT THE SPACE UPSTAIRS

The Dates of the Show have been set.

OPENING: SAT, NOV 4, 7 TO 10 PM

THE SHOW WILL RUN FROM NOV 4 TO DEC 8

THE SPACE UPSTAIRS, 214 N Lexington St, Pittsburgh, PA 15208

There will also be multiple dance and music events related to the visual art,

as well as The Space’s signature event, “Second Saturday at the Space Upstairs” on Sat Nov 11.

For more updates please visit my Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/rick.claraval

And also “Like” my business page: https://www.facebook.com/Richard-Rick-Claraval-Contemporary-Figurative-Art-620893247938286/

For more information about The Space Upstairs: (412) 225-9269, https://www.thespaceupstairs.org/

Also I am very please that my friend Majid Roohafza will be joining me in the exhibition. Majid, who is from Iran, is a classically trained Persian Calligrapher, and there will be both collaborative pieces as well as paintings done by each individual artist. The show will revolve around the hope both artists have for peace between The United States and the Middle East. 

SMALL MIJID2 PTG SHOW

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SHAKESPEARE!

I’m very excited about my new exhibition titled:

SHAKESPEARE DRAWINGS

 

GALLERY HOURS: MONDAY, WEDNESDAY and FRIDAY 6 TO 9 PM. SATURDAY 1 TO 4 PM. PLEASE STOP BY! FREE MERLOT!

Here is a portion of my Artist Statement: Shakespeare created some of the most ardent characters in literature, and using the powerful chiaroscuro that can be achieved with charcoal, I explore the passions, situations and character of some of his most famous and infamous dramatis personae. Rather than present straightforward “portraits” however, I convey my impression of their psychologies in a freer, more abstract way. Using a loose style, a variety textures, symbols and fragments of environments, I explore the passions of each character.

Below are: Hamlet (version 1), Hamlet (version 2) and Richard III. All are 24″ x 18″ and charcoal on paper.

 

3 SHAKESPEARE

THE BRITS ARE COMING!

I am very excited to announce that Britsburgh, an anglophile organization here in the burgh, will be hosting a special event in the gallery in conjunction with my exhibition, “Shakespeare Drawings”! Enjoy a glass of wine or beer while I discuss my drawings and then see the excellent professional actors of The Britsburgh Team: Mrs. Shakespeare (Yvonne Hudson), The Unrehearsed Shakespeare Project and Pittsburgh Shakespeare in the Parks bring these scenes to life! Thursday, May 25th, 7-9 pm. This should be really cool!
SPINNING PLATE GALLERY 5821 Baum Blvd, 15206
Many thanks to Robert Charlesworth, chair of Britsburgh, for doing a wonderful job of putting this together!
Britsburgh (http://bacpgh.com/)
Unrehearsed Shakespeare Co.: http://www.unrehearsedshakespeareproject.com/index.html
Shakespeare in the Parks http://www.pittsburghshakespeare.com/
Also please don’t forget the opening, this Sat, May 20 7-9 pm!

 

UNREHERSED

Unrehearsed Shakespeare Company

 

SHAKE PARK

Shakespeare in the Parks
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PAINTINGS!

I’m very excited to announce that this Fall I will be having a large solo show of my recent paintings at the truly unique venue, “The Space Upstairs”. A large, wide open loft with a 1960s Beatnik ambiance, the Space features improvised dancing to live, mostly Jazz, music. In an unusual format, all of my work will be displayed on one huge wall — about 20 x 60 feet. The dates have not yet been confirmed and I will post them as soon as I know.
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3-ptg

My paintings at the Square Cafe’ this past January, 2016

 squ-1

 

squ2

Paintings installed at the Square Cafe!

HOURS

Monday – Saturday: 7am – 3pm
Sunday: 8am – 3pm

1137 South Braddock Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15218
412.244.8002

 

sq-1

sq-2

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Coming in May, 2016

6 BEST

BEST OF SHOWS

Drawings, etchings and some sculpture
from my last five years of exhibitions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          May 3 to 29, 2016.

                   OPENING RECEPTION: Saturday May 7th,                                          7 to 10 pm.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

                   Gallery Hours: Tues, Wed & Thurs 5:30 to                                           8:30 pm

                             

                    Sunday 11 to 2 pm.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sleeper in Show

Sleeper 9.5 feet long and is held up only by it’s attachment to the wall.

SPINNING PLATE GALLERY

4821 BAUM BLVD, 15206

RCLARAVAL@GMAIL.COM

or “Like” me at: https://www.facebook.com/Richard-Rick-Claraval-Contemporary-Figurative-Art-620893247938286/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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FAST

An exhibition focusing on the method that releases
my creative imagination: working fast

ARTIST STATEMENT

 FAST

 A seminal event for me occurred in 1972. I took a printmaking class for double credits and was told by the professor that in order to get an “A” I would need to produce 24 etchings in just 17 weeks — a very tough goal. To this day I vividly remember him saying, “you will have to put in a lot of time”, and immediately thinking to himself, “and I will have to work FAST”. What flowed from this was a quantum leap in my artistic development. Alacrity combined with perfectionism to produce work that was far more mature and sophisticated than any I had done before. By not having the time to obsess over details, subject matter, composition or any of the myriad of decisions involved in making art, I opened the floodgates of my creativity. In football terminology, I had done an “end run” around my fears.

Before this show I was feeling that I was not growing as much as I would like as an artist and so decided to focus less on specific themes and get back to the simple approach that had worked so well for me in that printmaking class long ago. I set a tough goal: produce at least one drawing a week starting in February and continuing till the end of July. So far (late-May) it has been a success. Overall the work in this show is bolder, more imaginative and more defined than any I’ve done in a long time. The show is not completely directionless however as much of the work continues some of the ideas that have interested me in the past few years: my major direction of fusing the realistic human figure with Abstract Expressionist type gesture;  the future of human evolution through new technologies such as human/computer interface, nanotechnology and genetic engineering; and the new approach of adding fields of color to both of the above.

My belief in the freeing power of rapid production is reinforced by statements and anecdotes from great artists: Leonard Bernstein once said, “All that is needed for greatness is a good plan and not quite enough time to accomplish it.” Francis Bacon believed that he got his best results when he was “unconscious”, by which he meant that he was working from the subconscious — the faculty that is activated when one is working very fast. And Handle wrote the masterpiece, “The Messiah”, in just 24 days.

Though getting paid for ones work is important and feels good, growth is the biggest payoff for making art. When you are in this state there is a wonderful sense of excitement and adventure. Your imagination is set free and you are constantly exploring the magical land of “the undiscovered country”. And growing as an artist, it seems to me, involves maybe 90% doing, and 10% thinking. There do seem to be a few artist who are fearless, among them some of the best. But for most of us fear, to one extent or another, is a barrier to reaching our full potential. So far, for me the most effective way I have found to overcome this contains just two words: work FAST.

 

This exhibition of mixed media drawings will take place at the Spinning Plate Gallery, 5821 Baum Blvd, Pittsburgh Pa, from August 3 to August  29, 2015 with an opening reception on Saturday, August 8 from 7 to 10 pm.

Richard Claraval    May, 2015

For more information or to schedule an appointment to see the work please contact the artist at:

rclaraval@gmail.com

412 877 7394

www.richardclaraval.com

CURRENT SHOW

 A Duo Retrospective featuring my great professor Paul Ben-Zvi and myself:

Following the Visual Path: Retrospectives by Student and Teacher

GALLERY HOURS

TUES THROUGH THURS 6 TO 10 PM

SUNDAY 1 TO 4 PM

May 8 to 29, 2015

OPENING RECEPTION MAY 9, 5 TO 8 PM

Spinning Plate Gallery, 5821 Baum Blvd., Pittsburgh, Pa. 15206

Here are our Artist Statements:

In college I learned as much from one man as all my other art professors combined. The standard approach of studio professors at IUP, at least in the seventies, was to have the students start working with little or no instruction and then make occasional comments and have a class critique or two. It’s not that one didn’t learn from this approach, there was an occasional useful tip, but it didn’t seem to me to be a great deal more valuable than simply working on one’s own. Paul Ben-Zvi on the other hand inundated us with knowledge and ideas, analysis of great art and inspired me to this day. So I feel honored to be sharing this exhibition with him. Paul did my confidence a great deal of good once when he told me I could be an A student in any art school in the country. He’s retired now, but I believe Paul could have taught at any art school in the country. Below are first Paul’s, then my artist statements.
Richard Claraval
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Paul Ben-Zvi: A 3-D Retrospective
“I have not tried to reproduce what I have seen. I create a Vehicle, fuel it, give it a nudge, and let viewers take it to their own destination. Of course like many creators of vehicles I care what they look like and I try to control the elements of design: color, shape, line, and texture. That design, fuel, and nudge determine only the beginning of the trip.
Some of my creations are meant to acknowledge the work of cartoonists, folk artists, fine and commercial artists, illustrators, and movie makers and share with the audience a mutual heritage. Hopefully you will find them to be humorous, sometimes warm and gentle, sometimes editorial and satiric, and sometimes both. I favor the advice “When you come to a fork in the road — take it”. Puns, visual and spoken, are my treat.
For most of my life I have been a teacher. So I was greatly honored when Richard Claraval invited me to exhibit with him in a show themed Student and Teacher, a Retrospective.”

Paul Ben-Zvi

 

Richard Claraval: A 2D Retrospective
My work in this show starts all the way back to the 1970s and comes up to the present. I’ve attempted to pick work that was most directly influenced by things I learned from Paul, although almost nothing I’ve done is not. I am showing drawings, etchings (the medium in which made my big breakthrough in 1972) paintings and mixed media works. Though I only had Paul for drawing, his influence extended to all my work. For example, the notion of adding subtle nuance to a bold overall structure is evident in my Sculpture, “The Prison of My Youth”, from 2004. A few of the many things I first learned about in Paul’s classroom which have powerfully inspired me are: the eurythmic quality in visual art (background elements echoing the shape of those in the foreground), tension (increased awareness of similarities) the powerful effect one can achieve through chiaroscuro, directing the viewer’s eye around the page and balancing repetition and variation.

Richard Claraval
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BIOGRAPHY

Richard Claraval is an award winning draftsman and sculptor. His contemporary figurative charcoal drawings have been in solo and group exhibitions in galleries and museums throughout the Eastern U.S., including the Carnegie Museum of Art and the Bascom Center for Visual Art. Among his recent honors he won both a juror’s award and a purchase award at the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh’s Annual Exhibition at the Carnegie Museum of Art, in 2010.  And a large charcoal drawing on paper, “Pollock Not Paintings” by Mr. Claraval won a juror’s award at the 2012 Associate Artists exhibition, “Void, Absent, Empty”, at Panza Gallery. His work is in collections throughout the east. Mr. Claraval received a B.A. in art from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

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ARTIST STATEMENT

Similar to the way a Jazz performer uses a familiar song as a starting point for improvisation, I use the Renaissancesque human figure as inspiration for creating Abstract Expressionist gesture. This extends it physically, emotionally and philosophically. Throughout many eras of art various harmonious forms have been placed near the figure to extend its gesture, such as the swirling draperies of Baroque and Renaissance paintings. What I do though, is to not just have complimentary forms exist in the same space as the human figure, but actually have them flowing from, and into it, thus integrating the two into a single more complex

As a child I enjoyed the simplistic yet dynamic figures of comic books. Later the genius of Michelangelo cemented my passion for the human form and showed me its great potential. I also love motion: the exhilaration of flowing along a winding highway in a car; the vicarious thrill of seeing birds in flight, or the beautiful gestures of great athletes and dancers. Whenever I look at a beautiful nude, whether a model, a photo, or a fabulous painting Michelangelo, I envisioned the shapes of the figure flowing outward from it into space creating new forms.

In college I became a fan of the dynamic gestures of Abstract Expressionism. And, being fascinated with the idea of synthesis, I decided to combine this with the figure. Both are deeply involved with the kinesthetic sense. Just as one “feels into” the gesture of a beautiful figure, the sense that one is moving with the arcs and slashes of Abstract Expressionist gestures is very clear.

          My gestural extension of the realistic human figure also has philosophical implications: It is now well known that human beings are part and parcel with the rest of the universe, and not, as religion claims, somehow separate. And, in another vein, it is also clear that new technologies such as, genetic engineering, human/computer interface, nano technology and others will “extend” human beings in ways we cannot imagine.

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 Contemporary Figurative Drawing Opens This Saturday, July 12th, 7 to 10 PM, at the Spinning Plate Gallery, 5821 Baum Blvd, Pittsburgh, 15206

Hours:

Tues, Wed, Thurs 7 to 10 PM

Fri and Sat 4 to 7 PM

The show features:
Stephen Tuomala: http://stephentuomala.com/home.html
Marc Snyder: http://www.fimp.net/extheat.html
Tim Fabian: http://www.timfabian.com/index.cfm
Richard Claraval: http://richardclaravalcontemporaryfigurativedrawingssculpture.com/works-on-paper/

Group 5From right to left: Stephen Tuomala, Self-Immolation II, Marc Snyder Skull and Mask, Tim Fabian Untitled, Richard Claraval Perseus Slays Medusa?

Here are some images of each artists’ work:

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAStephen Tuomala Self-Immolation series

A BALI 1Marc Snyder Shadow Puppet I

A TIM 1 Tim Fabian Untitled

UntitledRichard Claraval Untitled

And here are the artists’ Statements:

Stephen Tuomala:

My current body of artwork predominantly deals with distressed figures/bodies from media images of executions, tragedies, medical imaging, crime scenes, and war. The main focus of my work is on the bodies’ gestures and the stories they tell through our greater connection with death imagery and life.
My practice deals with both a formalist aspect in the ways in which the paintings and drawings are put together and conceptually through examining perceptions of the body and our relationship to the meaning of figures in imagery and painting.
In the formalist aspects of my work I build tension between figures and objects using the visual dialogue of color, line and tone to create context, emotion and structure. Many times the physical qualities of the paintings and drawings become as important as the figures and landscapes. I used ink and gouache because of the immediacy of the medium.

Marc Snyder:

These drawings are from a series entitled “The Existential Theater.” These images combine drawing from casts of body parts, drawing from live models, and invented passages. These fragments combine to suggest figures and relationships between figures. Ideally, the viewer is aware of the artificial nature of the situation (the casts are inanimate, the space is illogical) but is simultaneously reading emotional or narrative qualities into the “figures”. The dramatically lit spaces (the stage) in these images are drawn primarily from imagination. The portions of plaster casts and live models (the actors) are carefully arranged to direct the viewer into seeing these fragments of the figure as part of a larger, living whole. The common visual phenomena of mentally completing a fragmented form has an emotional counterpart. This seems directly related to our ability to find meaning in our own chaotic and often apparently random environment. To see ourselves as the makers of this meaning is an important step towards taking responsibility for our situations.

Tim Fabian:

As a photographer I reached a plateau where I felt that my work had become formulaic, that whenever I pushed the shutter button I would get excellent results without much effort. I decided that I needed to try something new, something more challenging. I picked drawing because it is the basis of all two-dimensional visual art.
Drawing excites me because I feel the joy of being a student again – trying new materials, new methods and, especially, new ways of seeing. I find that if I really look, really see, and allow my body to express itself through my materials with as little thought as possible I get the best results. Like any physical exercise these they are the product of endless repetition, constant practice.
These drawings are all executed within moments in the tradition of Zen Enso drawings. If I work them too hard they become forced. The best ones are just a few simple marks. Allowing myself to be expressive in this intuitive manner turns out to be similar to my photography. I have come full circle, so to speak.

Richard Claraval:
Similar to the way a Jazz performer uses a familiar song as a starting point for improvisation, I use the Renaissancesque human figure as inspiration for creating Abstract Expressionist gesture. This extends it physically, emotionally and philosophically. Throughout many eras of art various harmonious forms have been placed near the figure to extend its gesture, such as the swirling draperies of Baroque and Renaissance paintings. What I do though, is to not just have complimentary forms exist in the same space as the human figure, but actually have them flowing from, and into it, thus integrating the two into a single more complex form.
As a child I enjoyed the simplistic yet dynamic figures of comic books. Later the genius of Michelangelo cemented my passion for the human form and showed me its great potential. I also love motion: the exhilaration of flowing along a winding highway in a car; the vicarious thrill of seeing birds in flight, or the beautiful gestures of great athletes and dancers. Whenever I look at a beautiful nude, whether a model, a photo, or a fabulous painting Michelangelo, I envisioned the shapes of the figure flowing outward from it into space creating new forms.
In college I became a fan of the dynamic gestures of Abstract Expressionism. And, being fascinated with the idea of synthesis, I decided to combine this with the figure. Although, on the surface, it may seem that the three dimensional realism that was the renaissance figure is unrelated to Abstract Expressionist gesture which exists largely in the picture plane. Both, however, are deeply involved with the kinesthetic sense. Just as one “feels into” the gesture of a beautiful figure, the sense that one is moving with the arcs and slashes of Abstract Expressionist gestures is very clear.
My gestural extension of the realistic human figure also has philosophical implications: It is now well known that human beings are part and parcel with the rest of the universe, and not, as religion claims, somehow separate. And, in another vein, it is also clear that new technologies such as, genetic engineering, human/computer interface, nano technology and others will “extend” human beings in ways we cannot imagine.

 

 

Mythological Gestures: Contemporary Figurative Charcoal Drawings on Old Subjects

JUNE 1 THROUGH JUNE 31

GALLERY HOURS;

TUES, WED, THURS, 7 to 10 PM

FRI AND SAT, 4 TO 7 PM, or by APPOINTMENT

For my next exhibition of contemporary figurative charcoal drawings, I’ve gone back to a subject that has interested me since college, mythology. As I want to keep these new drawings in the same vein as those I’ve been producing for the past several years – fusing the human figure with Abstract Expressionist type gesture – this is proving challenging. However, the highly imaginative “supernatural” and archetypal elements of myths, which are in sense abstractions, as well as the monsters and exotic chimeras, lend themselves to an abstract gestural mode of interpretation. As well, the ability of many of the characters to do impossible things such as fly and become invisible fit well my interest in depicting the figure in very dynamic and sometimes impossible poses. The breakthrough for me in deciding to do this show came when I finished the piece, Jupiter and Io.

 Jupiter and Io

Originally it did not have this title, and I was not thinking of creating a mythological piece with this drawing. It was only after living with it for a week, did I realize that it was a perfect abstracted version of Jupiter and Io: the way I had represented Jupiter, who comes to earth in the form of a cloud and seduces Io, as pure gestural abstraction opened the door to doing a whole series of myths in my style.

I must say though that telling stories in drawings where at least one of the characters or elements of a character must be represented by gestural abstraction has been challenging. Not all the subjects of myths fit this approach as perfectly as Jupiter and Io. That being said though, the representing of part of a story as gesture has been interesting. In Afternoon of the Faun I used the robe that one of the nymphs gives to the Faun, and which her caresses, as a link between all the different versions of the Faun I created.

 Afternoon of the Faun

The Minotaur in the Labyrinth is one of my favorite tales, and I did an etching of this subject way back in 1972.

 Minotaur

In my new version it was a lot of fun having his massive head flow outward and become the labyrinth.

 Minotaur

In, Perseus Slays Medusa, I reprised an idea I had in a previous exhibition: having the snakes of her head represent the top corporations in the world. In this new drawing though, I created gestures for each of the snakes, and represented the corporate symbols much more loosely.

 Perseus Slays Medusa

One element in this exhibition that sets it apart from others on mythology is that I am including pieces that are inspired by the modern myths of J. R. R. Tolkien. As his expressed purpose was to create a mythology for England, I feel my including his stories makes sense. I’ve loved Tolkien’s books since I first read The Lord of the Rings when I was 18, and the imagery he conjuror’s in my head is the most vivid and powerful that I have ever experienced. I had intended to do a very dark drawing of Morgoth creating him out of many loose but focused gestural marks. However when I got to the point of the now finished piece, I knew I need go no farther as I had captured the most important quality I was looking for, Morgoth’s mad malevolence.

 Morgoth

Artist Statement

Mythological subjects have been a rich source of subject matter for artists for centuries. Each has interpreted these stories both in the idiom of their time and in their own personal style. In his exhibition of large charcoal drawings at The Spinning Plate Gallery in Pittsburgh, I continue this tradition with my unique approach of fusing the human figure with Abstract Expressionist gesture. The highly imaginative “supernatural” and archetypal elements of myths, which are in sense abstractions, as well as the exotic chimeras, lend themselves to an abstract gestural mode of interpretation. As well, the ability of many of the characters to do impossible things such as fly and become invisible fit well my interest in depicting the figure in very dynamic and sometimes impossible poses.

The show which runs from June 1 to June 30 at the Spinning Plate Gallery, 5821 Baum Blvd., 15206 does not limit itself to Greek Mythology but also touches on Christian, Egyptian and others, as well as the modern day the mythology of J.R.R.Tolkien. There will be an opening reception on Saturday June 14, from 7:00 to 10:00 PM.

The frequently very dramatic, emotional and vivid qualities of myths which lend themselves well to my romantic tendencies are an ongoing inspiration. In this regard, the work of Tolkien fits very well into the theme of this exhibition. I have been a fan of these modern day myths since a teenager, and at least half the reason for this is that I find Tolkien’s imagery to be extremely powerful and vivid. As with other types of myths these stories often feature fantastic creatures and both female and male heroic figures in dynamic action which also tie in to my interest in the dynamic human figure in unusual poses.

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MICHELANGELO NOIR:
DRAWINGS BASED ON THE PRE-CLEANED CEILING
CLOSING PARTY: FRIDAY JANUARY 31ST, 6 TO 9PM

Michelangelo Noir Artist Statement

Before the recent (possibly disastrous) cleaning of the Michelangelo’s frescoes in the Sistine Chapel, I loved their deep, dark chiaroscuro. Though it of course has nothing to do with the artist’s intent, the deeply shaded figures, and the dark areas of soot and cracks put me in mind of storms and lightning, and suggested some murky, mysterious drama. In my current exhibit, Michelangelo Noir I use photos of the ceiling and The Last Judgment before they where cleaned as starting points for a series of dark compressed charcoal drawings that abstract and extrapolate both the masters work and the random forms and lines that juxtapose them. By integrating the existing dark cracks of the frescoes with my own spontaneous gestures I continue my exploration of fusing the fairly realistic human figure with Abstract Expressionist gesture. What is different in this exhibition however, is that I push the qualities of dark chiaroscuro and drama as far as possible. I also make new compositions of Michelangelo’s figures, draperies and architectural details along with the detritus.
“Michelangelo Noir – Drawings based on the Unrestored Frescoes” will run from December 6 through December 31, 2013 at Imagebox Gallery, 4933 Penn Avenue,  Pittsburgh, PA 15224.

For more information or to set up an appointment:

Imagebox: hello@imagebox.com

or Mr. Claraval: rclaraval@gmail.com www.richardclaraval.com

 

 

IGNUDI: DRAWINGS BASED ON THE NUDE YOUTH PAINTINGS OF MICHELANGELO

Spinning Plate Gallery, 5720 Friendship Ave, Pittsburgh, Pa 15206November 1 through November 27, 2013OPENING:  Saturday November 9 from 7 to 10 PM with food and beverages.

 

My next exhibition presents work that is very dear to me as the Sistine chapel paintings of Michelangelo have inspired me my entire life. Here is a portion of my Artist Statement:

In these two drawings series I use the Ignudi, or nude youths, of Michelangelo’s Sistine Ceiling as inspiration for Abstract Expressionist gesture, similarly to the way a Jazz performer uses a song as a starting point for improvisation.Many artists have felt this impulse, as evidenced in the Renaissance and Baroque eras where draperies swirl around the figure in beautiful, rhythmic harmony. What I do though, is to not just have complimentary forms exist in the same space as the human figure, but actually have them flowing from and into it, creating a single, more complex form. Both the renaissance figure and Abstract Expressionist gesture are deeply involved with the kinesthetic sense. Just as one “feels into” the gesture of one of Michelangelo’s figures, the sense that one is moving with the arcs and slashes of Abstract Expressionist gestures is very clear.

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  The show will be comprised two series of pastiches on the 19 existing Ignudi figures in the great Sistine Ceiling fresco by Michelangelo. In one smaller drawings, all 17” x 14”, are in graphite, and build on a piece I did in 1995, titled Micheljackson 1, which can be seen below. They involve a light drawing of each Ignudo, to which are added three, again light, brick sized rectangles around sections of the figure that have lots of formal complexity. I then draw these parts of the figure with as much three dimensionality as possible, and add spontaneous gestural marks to them. Then as a transition between the sections I add one large spontaneous line through all three.

MJ 1

The larger second series are charcoal, and less structured than the smaller,  created more purely in response to Michelangelo’s great nudes. I prefer photos of the pre-cleaned frescos to their current “restored” state. I find both the dark areas of soot and the cracks that juxtapose the figures mysterious and suggestive of some turgid drama. And also there is a resonance in them to my interest in fusing Abstract Expressionist gesture with the human figure.

IGNUDO 9

         

        

 

DARKNESS AND LIGHT

I am very happy to say that my exhibition this past February, Darkness and Light, was a great success. A great many people attended and the feedback was extremely positive. I also sold 4 drawings including two of the largest. The show was at Modernformations Gallery, 4919 Penn Avenue,  Pittsburgh, PA 15224 in Garfield.  Here is a portion of my press release for the exhibit:

for immediate release

DARKNESS and LIGHT drawings by Richard Claraval

explores philosophy outside the box.

 We all know that for a large portion of humanity the world is a dangerous, unjust and largely painful place. What are the overarching causes of this and what factors tend to ameliorate it? What are our best weapons against human suffering? Is the concept of “evil” based in fact, or is it a human invention that has been used for millennia as a justification for almost every form of injustice? These and other provocative questions will be explored in the dualistic exhibition of  charcoal drawings titled “Darkness and Light” by Richard Claraval at Modernformations Gallery in Pittsburgh.

The back room of the Gallery, with it’s hues of deep red and purple, will be filled with drawings that explore the destructive forces of the world: greed, nationalism, the great disparity between the haves and have-nots, religion; the “Dark”. While the white cube front room will contain images of the “Light” or positive forces: science, education, independent thinking, tolerance. Many of the pieces use mythology as a vehicle for Claraval’s ideas. Prometheus Unbound, for example, deals with the terribly retarding effect religion has had on human progress.

This Greek Titan, emblematic of everything positive about the human race: creativity, intelligence, the quest for scientific knowledge, is depicted bursting free from his rocky prison which, in this drawing, is comprised of the symbols of the three largest religions: Christian Cross, Jewish Star of David and Muslim Sickle Moon and Star. Another piece uses the monster Medusa as a representation of greed, with each of the ten snakes writhing from her head carrying the symbols of the ten largest corporations in the world.

“Darkness and Light” will run from February 1 through February 22 at Modernformations Gallery, 4919 Penn Avenue,  Pittsburgh, PA 15224. There will be an opening reception on Friday, February 1st, from 7 to 10PM, with beverages and food. The event is part of Unblurred.

For more information or to set up an appointment: modernformationsgallery@gmail.com

or Mr. Claraval:

rclaraval@gmail.com

or

412 441 0194

Everyone is invited!!

“RISE” RISES IN TENNESSEE

I am very happy to announce that my 4 piece styrafoam sculpture, “Rise” is now installed in the Germantown, Tennessee City Hall. It looks great there. It is a large, attractive space with a 28 foot ceiling, and huge windows; exactly what the piece needs. We painted the lines that hold the piece black rendering them virtually invisible. This makes the piece look extraordinary; seeming to truly defy gravity.

The sculpture was inspired by the great poem, “Still I Rise”, by Maya Angelou. And, although it definitely refers to the theme of black people overcoming slavery, as does Ms. Angelou’s poem, it also relates to the overcoming of any type of injustice. This means a great deal to me as someone who has struggled long and hard to overcome an abusive childhood.

The piece will remain there until August, 2013. The city has the option to by it and this would be wonderful. It’s every sculptors dream to have a piece permanently placed in a beautiful space.

 


 SPINNING PLATE GALLERY

The Gallery now has a new director, the very enthusiastic Tom Mosser. I’m happy that the space is in his capable hands and that I am serving an assistant role.

for info please contact Tom at:

tommosserart@mac.com

 

News

I am very happy to announce that my sculpture entitled, “Faun”  has won the Shoen Family Juror’s Award  at this years one hundredth anniversary of the Associated Artists Annual Exhibition at the Carnegie Museum of Art, and has been purchased by The Friends of Art, for the Pittsburgh Public School System.

 

I am very pleased that the above compressed charcoal drawing, “Pollock Not Paintings”, has won a juror’s award at the Associated Artists Exhibit titled, Void, Absence, Empty, held this March (2012) at Panza Gallery. Much thanks to Graham Shearing juror for the show.

Pollock Not Paintings

ARTIST STATEMENT

Richard Claraval 4/2012

          I am very romantic. I am interested in expressing passion, joy, excitement, power, sadness and all the emotions humans experience, and also in incorporating ideas in which to ground them. All of my work is inspired by classical music, especially very emotional composers such as Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich and many, many more. At 18, when I first heard the 4th movement of Beethoven’s Ninth symphony it was an epiphany. I felt as if I had always known that something like this must exist in the world — and there it was. It felt like the purest most direct expression of the human spirit one could imagine. It has been a continuous inspiration.

The human figure, in that it is ourselves, has tremendous potential for expressing these passions, and my combining of the realistic human figure with abstract forms goes way back to some very early experiences. As a six year old I was enthralled by the mellifluous, ebon Zorro flitting across rooftops on moonlit nights. Later I loved playing football. I was small, quick and had an excellent imagination for creating “moves” (ways of rhythmically moving your body to misdirect the potential tackler). These moves have a very strong relation to dance, and, although, during the actual game, one has to decide on them in an instant, I would frequently daydream about them before falling asleep, or in school; inventing new ones and combining old. When imagining these moves one is visualizing three dimensional shapes combined with the human figure, and I have never lost my fascination with this.

At about the same age I was also a fan of comic books and had a similar inspiration from them. I was enthralled by the dynamism of these figures and the emotional intensity they could express, in spite of their sometimes shaky anatomy. The characters who could in some way “fly” were of particular interest. Again they inscribed beautiful forms in space that where derive from their poses.

A bit later I discovered Michelangelo and found a relationship to this idea in the floating or perhaps flying figures of The Last Judgment. And seeing the astonishing range of expressive power that can be achieved with the human figure in this work blew the top of my head right off.

In college I became a fan of Abstract Expressionism and realized that the gestures in these paintings related to my visualizations of the human figure moving through space. Both have strongly to do with the kinesthetic sense. The idea of combining these with the figure is finally where these drawings come from.

DRAWING PROCESS

Richard Claraval, 4/2012

        My process is about half preconceived and half spontaneous. I start with an inspiration for a dynamic figure in space, either derived from my imagination or occasionally from Michelangelo’s paintings in the Sistine Chapel. I lightly sketch the figure with good proportions and anatomy on the page in a place that gives room for the abstract gesture. Then I begin to add gesture lightly, either with charcoal or by rubbing with a soft cloth. Almost all of the gestural lines begin in the figure and flow out into the page. I always have a feeling as to the main directional flows of the figure and how my gestures will relate rhythmically to them. Then I work back and forth between the two elements adding darker and stronger elements. I constantly pull back both physically and mentally, observe objectively what I have done, and responding to it.

I try to never limit myself arbitrarily and add any elements my imagination conceives that do not either destroy the piece’s integrity, or go completely away from my fundamental direction. The best example of this is Micheljackson 27, where I added a manacle and chains. These fit very well both thematically and esthetically.

Deciding when a piece is finished is difficult for most artists and for me a funny sort of thing. I almost always reach a point where the piece “seems” to be done, and frequently I will just go ahead and sign it. But, then, I will always leave the piece up where I can see it, and, with few exceptions, I will see perhaps several things that can be improved. After making the changes or additions the result is almost always an improve work, sometimes radically better.

Biography

Richard Claraval’s sculptures and drawings, have been exhibited in solo and group shows throughout the Pittsburgh area.  At the One Hundredth Associated Artist’s Annual Exhibition, at the Carnegie Museum of Art in 2010, he won a Juror’s Award, and a Purchase Award. He has had two solo installations at The Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, and was featured in two exhibitions in conjunction with the International Sculpture Conference in 2000. Mr. Claraval has a sculpture in the collection of the Westinghouse Corporation, and won the Juror’s Award for a drawing in a group exhibit at Studio Z Gallery in 1997. He received a bachelors degree in Art from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, in 1977

 

 

Selected Quotes From Reviews

From experience, I know I love art that makes a brilliant statement in a startlingly original way. I found that in Richard Claraval’s Faun. Unique in form, it touches on Greek classicism, Vaslav Nijinsky’s L’Apres-midi d’un Faune – joined with the unexpected wonders of styrafoam and spackle.

Donald Miller, Juror’s Statement, Associated Artists of Pittsburgh 100th Annual Exhibition Catalog

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“(Claraval’s) human figures …swirl and swoop, rise and fall in a dance all their own. But just as soon as one is swept up in this dance, one is jarred from it. As engaging as one of his graceful figures might be, no sooner do you turn around from looking at one than you are confronted with another figure coming from yet another unexpected angle. It’s unnerving yet un abashedly fun…”

Kurt Shaw, Review of “Le Joie De Vivre”, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Feb. 1, 2004

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“Claraval’s sculptures look so massive that it took me a moment to realize that they were in fact floating free in the air…”

…Claraval’s anti-caryatids hang from the ceiling: painstakingly rendered, near-life-sized collarbone-to-calf figures that flow into existence out of sensuously curving Styrafoam pillars, the bases subtely hovering just inches above the ground.”

Stephen H. Segal, “Anne’s Song”, (review of Anti-caryatidean”) In Pittsburgh Weekly, May 2000”

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“It’s pretty amazing what kinds of textures Claraval get out of something as bland as Styrafoam. Sometimes it’s chunky and thick, like in “Rise”; other times it’s thin and airy, like in the “Caryatid” series. The textures are enticing enough to warrant a touch or two.”

Dave madden, “Human Plus”, “In Pittsburgh Weekly”, November, 1999

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MICHELJACKSON 4/2012