Master of Fine Arts, West Virginia University, Morgantown,1975
Bachelor of Arts, West Virginia University, Morgantown,1967
2009 Coal: A Common Experience
Pellissippi State Community College, Knoxville, Tn.
2009 Dispatch: Cloth, Print and the Political
Threewalls Gallery, Chicago, Illinois
National Invitational Exhibition
2009 I Don’t Get It: Non-objective Works from the Permanent Collection
Huntington Museum of Art, Huntington, WV
2009 Paula Clendenin: New Work
The Art Store, Charleston, WV
2008 Manufactured Unreality: The Art of Collage.
Francis M. Naumann Fine Arts, New York
2007 Transmissions, Broadway Gallery, New York, invitational
2006 Curator’s Choice: Paula Clendenin,
Huntington Museum of Art, Huntington, WV, Solo exhibition, catalogue
2004 Internal Sense of Intention, 20 year retrospective,
Clay Center for the Arts, Charleston, WV, solo exhibition
Tools as Art, Clay Center for the Arts, Charleston, WV,
2003 New Works, Callen McJunkin Gallery, Charleston, WV
Stiffel Fine Arts Center, Wheeling, WV solo show
2001 Appleton Gallery, Shawnee State University, solo show,
1999 Moon Showers: An Artist’s Work, Sleeth Gallery,
West Virginia Wesleyan College, solo show, catalogue
Shepherd University, solo show, Shepherdstown, WV
1998 Body and Soul: Contemporary Southern Figures,
Curated traveling exhibition, catalogue.
The Columbus Museum, Columbus, Georgia
The Mississippi Museum of Arts, Jackson Miss.
The Mobile Museum of Arts, Mobile, Alabama
The Cummer Museum of Art, Jacksonville, Fla.
1996-1997 The Spirit Within: Four West Virginia Artists,
Curated traveling exhibition, catalogue
The National Museum of the Arts, Washington, DC
Sunrise Museum, Charleston, WV
Carnegie Hall, Lewisburg, WV
Mesaros Gallery, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
1995 Crossroads, Solo installation,video, SunrIse Museum,WV
Prints by Contemporary Women Artists, Hollins College, Roanoke, VA
Inside Stories-Old Stories, Huntington Museum of Art,
Huntington, WV, solo exhibition, catalogue
West Virginia State University, Professor of Art 1993-2008
Resident Fellow, The MacDowell Colony, Peterborough, NH
Resident Fellow, Michael Karolyi Foundation, Vence, France
Resident Fellow, The Vermont Studio School, Johnson, VT
Artist in Residence, Galveston County, TX
Artist in Residence, Sunrise Museum, Charleston, WV
Artist in Residence, Shepherd College,Shepherdstown,WV
Library of Congress, Washington, DC
Hilton Hotels, Phoenix, Arizona
Bank Of Boston, Boston, Ma
Federal Express, Memphis, Tenn.
The Pickett Hotel, Atlanta, Ga.
Federal Reserve Bank, Baltimore, Md.
International Art, Ltd, London, England
Dallas Library Commission, Dallas Tx
AT&T, Westchester, NY
West Virginia Permanent Collection, WV State Museum, the Cultural Center, Charleston, WV
Huntington Museum of Art. Huntington, WV
Clay Center for the Arts, Charleston, WV
West Virginia University Permanent Collection, Morgantown, WV
Thomas Butler, Columbus, Georgia
Gov. Gaston Caperton, New York, NY
Maestra Rachel Worby, Pasadena, Ca
Dr. Gina Puzzuoli, Charleston, WV
Personal Symbols: 1990 - 2011
In the statements below I explore the visual elements found in my prints and paintings, how they came to be, disappear and resurface again. This piece includes comments on 21 years of my work right up until the last few weeks.
For many years, every time I thought I was going to leave West Virginia it pulled me back. It kept me working on my art. In the early 90’s, when my grandmother was very old and in poor health, I came back here to live again. Simultaneously, Ric Ambrose offered me an exhibit at Sunrise Museum. This was the installation show (influenced by the Rothko Chapel) with the enormous water and rock installation. It was an exhibit that allowed me to look at things differently. When you do, they change. That grounded me.
After the Sunrise show, there were lots of art offers and I realized I had many opportunities and I had to fulfill them. West Virginia State College (now University) offered me a one year position (which eventually lead to tenure). That was 21 years ago.
I had to ask myself the question, “If one is going to paint, what do you paint?”. My good friend Cindy Neuschwander kept sending me images of her new work - self portraits. I had never done self portraits. That is how I started going beyond the symbols and did the body shapes which evolved into ghosts. They would start out very personal as I traced my own shape and then evolve into less personal works concentrating on color and shape.
My first remembrance of the symbols was in Vence, France at the Karolyi Institute where I had a fellowhip. There were symbols carved into the stone steps on the grounds - fish, birds, people. This was also the time when I wanted to stop printing and start painting. The first paintings, “totems”, came from the Vence inspiration - paintings with symbols stacked one atop the other. Because I had come from printmaking (where editions are the norm), a series of paintings was the natural progression to me so I did the paintings in a series. They were unique variations, but still a series. That continues to this day.
Signs & Wonders/New Attitudes
Eventually I wanted to get rid of the symbols – break them down, just suggest them. After all, they are not my symbols they are archetypal. I did get away from those identifiable images and into more formal elements – the surface became much more important and the symbols faded away. Then one summer, I find myself living in Paris, sitting at cafes doodling bowls - constantly. Were the symbols back? I did not know why, but I used the appearance of the bowls to explore and found that the bowl symbolized the bounty, fruitfulness. They could be half full or half empty, feminine emotion, constance.
After Paris, I came back to West Virginia and attended an opening at the Museum in the Community. I had thought that I would be doing goodness knows what and I didn't want to know but to let the new work develop, and that evening at the museum Ric Ambrose offers me a retrospective - the first person to get one at the new Clay Center Art Museum. This was in 2002. I had just nine months to prepare. Up until that point I had been dealing mostly with my past in the work and this exhibition was dealing with my past 25 years. The new work was going to deal with the future. A still, beautiful, nice life - a bowl, a leaf, a “still life” - quiet cafe, good work, nice friends. The opposite of what you do when you are a young person. The bowl would be full - that is what I asked for. That is what the work was.
Then, I broke my arm. This was the first time that I could not work and had no control over the fact. Obviously my hand came to center stage. The hand and then the palm, both abstracted to a leaf. When I worked I wanted to again suggest a symbol, but not overtly. Not do away with it totally.
"Palms series" was really the bridge to the more abstract work. But I could not just go straight there, after not working due to the broken arm. I had to warm up, get back in shape. That work that comes from a wordless place - an expression of an impression to experience a moment again.
Jenine Culligan, Senior Curator, Huntington Museum of Art explains this best. "Clendenin also employs sgraffito - drawing directly into the wet paint surface, and for the first time is introducing new materials - additive elements which refer to West Virginia, including coal and rusted steel. Paula Clendenin believes this is an important and profound time in her life. She feels as though she is completely 'in-situ,' meaning that she is consistently able to find her 'zone of least resistance' and access that creative space between the conscious and unconscious - that place where 'stuff is hidden'. "
These works were done for a collage show in New York City at Francis Naumann Fine Art. The price tag (as a symbol?) was my only addition to the surface. They were all about: everything having a price, people not paying the price, you’re gonna pay the price, if you don’t pay the price...
The new iPad work is once again "revisiting" the symbols while using a new medium. The medium itself requires that I rely on the image more completely. These prints are what is called Giclée (pronounced “zhee-clay”), the process of making fine art prints from a digital source. This is a very exciting breakthrough as the matrix (the surface on which the artist creates an image prior to printing) is the iPad.