(Miami, FL) YEELEN GALLERY is proud to present Woke AF, a solo exhibition of new works by the renowned American artist James Clover. This exhibition marks Clover’s second solo show with the gallery in Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood. Work will be on view from October 29th, with an Artist Reception on Saturday, December 3rd during Art Basel Miami Week, centrally located at 294 NW 54th Street, Miami, FL 33127 the show will occupy the entire 5,000 sq. ft. of the gallery’s first floor.
Clover’s drawings can be related to the esthetic of Shamanism, with regards to his recurrent themes, such as birds, water, fish, trees, mankind, and the ever- turning circle of life. Shamanism is known as an animistic spiritual movement hence nature is essential and placed in the center of life. A philosophy in which the concepts of initiation and reincarnation are fundamental. In Clover’s series of drawings, the unworldly aura is overwhelming, while the structure of the drawings are choreographic, the deeper meaning is spirituality and magic. Each figure represented is a symbol and refers to a higher and an inner signification. The bird, for example, is an extremely powerful symbol, in the Shamanism philosophy, it’s the messenger to the beyond and the bearer of revelations.
Clover’s work is highly inspired by the movement called Symbolism (1886) and more precisely its esoteric-mysticism. In painting, Symbolism is addressed to the human spirit and imagination and Symbolists consider Art as an ethical experience more than a visual one. The hidden goal of art is to discover the secret side of things, hence, the figure is only a pretext to uncover more! Symbolisms artists, like James Clover, are deeply inhabited by nature, but represent it as a dream, their aesthetic becomes fantastic and imaginary.
In Clover’s work, references to Constantin Brancusi are recurrent. Brancusi and Clover share the same ideological vision of a higher spiritual being. They also share the quest of that higher spiritual existence, which is nothing other than the pursuit of happiness. The theme of bird and flight are essential for Brancusi, for years, his work was based on the representation of the essence of birds’ flight, and its intrinsic correlation with the ascent to the spiritual and to happiness. At last, in Clover’s drawings the figure of Brancusi’s endless column (la colonne sans fin) is recurring. This representation refers to the mythological Axis Mundi: an axis that supports the terrestrial arch and provides the link with the heart. In other words, the perfect nexus between the heart (the concrete, the real) and the beyond (the spiritual, the magic, the fantastic).
“Like the artists that came before him, Clover is going for the jugular. His latest series of work—deviating from the minimalist sculptures of which he is better known—use basic iconography and scales of color to harken back to creation. Repetitive forms dance across the surface of his compositions like those in a carnival or ones seen in brief flashes of mystically woven child-like dreams.
Clover’s work is an Alexander Calder mobile and jazz-infused Piet Mondrian wrapped into one. He has taken the best of Modern painting and sculpture and collectively created a style of his own that only a great artist and academician can. Paul Gauguin’s rejection of colonial life and gravitation towards nature are present. Wassily Kandinsky’s musical inflections seep in. Even Constantin Brancusi’s witty aptitude for geometry is channeled…” -Seanica Howe
About the Artist
James Clover, born in Iowa 1938, is an internationally known American artist and academician. After receiving his MFA from Tulane University in New Orleans, the artist taught and created as Professor of Sculpture and Drawing for over 30 years. Several U.S. cities boast sculpture parks which host the work of both James Clover and Alexander Calder. Major museum collections, holding works by the artist, includes the High Museum of Art Atlanta as well as Mississippi Museum of Art. In 1998, a major Clover installation was completed by Emory University in Atlanta. The artist’s works may also be found in numerous public and private collections worldwide.