Clive Head: Constellations @ Pellas Gallery, Boston
Clive Head’s artistic journey began very early in his development. As a child he found drawing as a mode of expression even more comfortable than speaking. Along his path on the canvas and page the British artist and philosopher has delved deeply into a heated discourse over the artistic validity and purpose of depicting realism, photorealism and reality.
Head first came to prominence in the art world by interjecting his studies of perception and spacial mathematics as a means to methodically and meticulously break through the limitations he found in photorealism by creating seamless and subtle realities impossible to achieve with the human eye or within a single camera frame. “Realism is a particular technique," Head says. "The truth is if you are conforming to a language that was given to you too overtly you’re not really finding your own voice. You are repeating it through a way of talking that has been learned. For any painter the challenge is finding a way to come to terms with reality through a structure that you’ve invented.”
Head’s second act as an established artist and art theorist saw his focus transition from exploring the impossibilities of his surroundings and backgrounds to the multiple mind states of his subjects in the foreground in order to challenge realism as an accurate depiction of our actual existence and consciousness within. “What constitutes our reality? It may have much more to do with the things we are thinking about... maybe I’m not dealing with impossible realities perhaps their is no such thing as surrealism and our thoughts and our dreams are as much a truth to us as our physical existence in time and space.”
Head’s latest solo show, Constellations, is now open at Pellas Gallery in Boston and will run through September 14th. Constellations explores the relationships of the human condition in shared spaces and shared experiences. In order to further connect the relationships between artist and viewer the exhibition is also premiering the immersive experience, "The Stars Between Us," spearheaded by Illuminus Festival and LuminArtz Lead projectionist Pamela Hersch using over a half dozen light mapping projectors. As the viewer enters the darkly lit gallery they are greeted by individual glowing mantras such as existence, testament and evolution. The viewer is asked to trust their instincts and walk in the direction of the mantra that speaks to them. Upon finding their place in the gallery they are greeted by the voice of the artist which acts as a guide to reveal the purpose of the mantra as projections shed light upon details of the the canvas to create visual harmony and another narrative layer. Each time an illuminated canvas fades to black it is the viewer’s responsibility to search for a new point to continue the journey.
The exhibition and "The Stars Between Us" project not only highlight works from key points in the artist’s career but also introduces works for the first time that highlight a completely new direction for Head. The exactness of his previous works has been brushed aside to allow the artist to more openly share the relationship between the raw physicality of art making and the subconscious mind behind his creative process. “I think I’m trying to be honest with the process of painting itself. There was an idea that painting in its purest form was a form of coming away and distancing from reality. I don’t really see it as abstraction. I see it as a fuller expression of what it means to paint. It is about widening the net of what one can do on the surface of the canvas.”
Photography and review by Todd Mazer