Middlebury College Museum of Art

News & Events

College Contemporary Art Series Features Room-Scale Ink Drawing

August 21, 2006

“Art Now: Dawn Clements”

September 5–December 10, 2006

For immediate release: 8/21/06
For further information contact: Douglas Perkins, Administrative Operations Manager, at (802) 443–5235

Middlebury, VT—On Tues., Sept. 5, the Middlebury College Museum of Art, located in the college’s Center for the Arts, Route 30, will open “Art Now: Dawn Clements,” the newest installment of its ongoing contemporary art series. “Travels with Myra Hudson,” a room-scale brush-and-ink drawing by New York artist Dawn Clements, will fill the entire Overbrook Gallery of the museum in this installation. Named for the character Joan Crawford brought to life in the 1952 thriller “Sudden Fear,” the single drawing depicts in extraordinary detail a number of key scenes in that classic film noir, one for which Crawford’s performance garnered the actress her third Oscar nomination. The exhibit will be on view through Sun., Dec. 10.

Clements, who specializes in detailed and expressive renderings of her immediate environment, also draws domestic interiors that appear in the melodramatic films and soap operas that capture her imagination. “Travels with Myra Hudson” is a bravura production that envelops and surrounds the viewer. Depicting key locations in “Sudden Fear,” the drawing derives from aesthetics of the film noir genre, in which a sense of place, animated by harsh light and deep shadow, can assume the psychological weight and presence of a lead character. By restricting her palette to stark, monochromatic ink on paper, Clements renders both the settings and the tonal mise-en-scène of the film.

A consummate draughtsman, Clements uses pen and ink the way a gifted narrator conveys settings in word or film. Her commanding expertise is evident, and the power of her work is hypnotic and unforgettable. She begins with intensely observed details of a particular locale. From this center she works outward, appending sheet after sheet of drawing paper, until her powers of observation cover the entire walls of a gallery space. Originally completed in 2002, the present installation includes an additional segment that Clements finished for “Art Now” only this summer.

As artist-in-residence at Middlebury in 2000, Clements drew a remarkable, minutely observed pen and ink rendition—some 78 feet in length—of the entire perimeter of her College Street apartment. Only a few colleagues had the opportunity to view this challenging project at that time, but Clements has gone on to make ever more ambitious and accomplished brush-and-ink drawings of her varied living accommodations in such locales as Brooklyn, Dijon, Pont-Aven, and North Truro, Massachusetts. These drawings have been shown at the Pierogi Gallery (Brooklyn and Leipzig), which represents the artist’s work, Feigen Contemporary and the Drawing Center (New York), Acme Gallery (Los Angeles), New Langton Art Center (San Francisco), the University at Albany (SUNY), and Skidmore College (Saratoga Springs, NY). Clements has also exhibited at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum (Ridgefield, Connecticut), the Andy Warhol Museum (Pittsburgh), The Brooklyn Museum of Art, and at sites abroad. Her work is in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Tang Museum (Skidmore College), the Western Bridge Collection (Seattle), and other private and public collections. Currently Clements teaches drawing at Princeton University.

There will be a screening of “Sudden Fear” in the college’s Dana Auditorium, College Street, at 7:00 p.m. on Thurs., Oct. 19. Clements will speak about her career and her compelling draughtsmanship in room 304 of the Johnson Memorial Building at 4:30 p.m. on Thurs., Oct. 26.

The Middlebury College Museum of Art is free and open to the public Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. It is closed Mondays. The Museum is accessible to people with varying disabilities. Parking is available in the Center for the Arts parking lot. For further information, please call (802) 443-5007 or TTY (802) 443-3155, or visit the Museum’s website at http://museum.middlebury.edu/.