Steve Clevenger


Artist's Statement:

Catharsis / kə ’thär səs /

A. The process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions, by bringing them to consciousness and affording them expression, primarily through art

B. Purgation

I make art because images arise in me, from my gut—from my heart, or from some newly wired synapse in my brain—and those images demand to be rendered. These ideas often come to me in an instant—a flash of inspiration, a dream, an ah-ha moment, or an intriguing found object. As an intensely left-brained thinker I welcome, and even cherish, these right-brain leaps of vision.

My style is representational and often realistic, though including elements of the surreal that help to express the idea at the heart of the piece. I work in both clay and paint, choosing the medium or combination of media I deem most appropriate to the expression. My intent is to be both descriptive and evocative at once.

The subject matter that most intrigues me is almost uniformly figurative. There is nothing on earth more expressive and provocative than the human form. Body language, facial expression, human action and interaction, all reveal much of what is knowable about the human condition. Arising as it often does from my subconscious, I believe that most of my best work deals with archetypal imagery that reflects some very common experiences, questions, feelings, and fears. This speaks to the cathartic and purgative nature of the work: I'm exploring and expressing my own nature—often its darkest corners—as I reflect on the greater scope of human experience. The results can often be darkly comic, occasionally ironic, and sometimes even confrontational. In the end, though, I hope my work can be considered affirmations of human flexibility and resilience in the face of the complicated, fragile, often conflicting attributes that make us most vulnerable.