Bronze and Paper
May 2nd – June 6th 2015
Artist Reception May 2nd 6pm – 8pm
Artist Talk and Process Slide show May 12th 6:30pm
Clay Jensen has lived and worked in the San Francisco Bay area for more than 35 years and lives in Lafayette, California. During this time, his work has referenced the urban industrial environment while in a parallel contrast with the vast spaces of the State of Utah where he was born and raised. He considers his work to be introspective and humanistic. His work can be read as a visual diary with personal observations documenting his changing perceptions of urban life. As the environment of the Bay area has changed and the urban industrial era has waned, his work has also changed. The urban landscape and architectonic sites have become the main focus in his new work. Jensen originally worked in wood, but switched to metal when he moved to the urban Bay area because it was a better fit for the work and his imagery. He has an extensive mixed media background but steel fabrication, painting, bronze casting and patina and have become his primary mediums.
Clay Jensen’s new series of bronze plates and large vessels are created using the method of sand casting, a process of packing lose foundry sand into a steel frame around a pattern made from wood or found objects, instead of lost wax casting. Lost wax casting is a much more time consuming and restrictive process. Sand casting is a simple, more immediate way of casting bronze that allows the artist a certain amount of “in the moment” freedom. It is very much like drawing as opposed to painting and allows for a more fluid expression of the hand at the moment of making.
The act of breaking a plate in the sand process and then casting that impression in metal creates a solid, reconnected, permanent bronze monumental image of a preseved domestic act. His work is often a vague self portrait. They express a symbol of struggle and his relationship to the domestic world around him. The use of patina (chemicals) to color and texture the surface of the bronze creates a feeling of melancholy – time past and present. The grey and muted colors reminds Jensen of the time between dusk and dawn, when it’s hard to see. It is a questionable period, not light and not dark, a sort of “in between.” Possible traces and references to domestic human behavioral history through artifacts found at an archaeological dig. His large amphora-like vessels can be compared to crucibles with their ware and stain of time in the furnace, like small worlds unto themselves.
Jensen refers to his connection to and influences from the ceramic art world. Peter Voulkos and Marylin Levine were mentors and lifelong friends whose work in abstract ways followed traditional clay roots of pottery – vessel and container.
Clay Jensen has exhibited his work in galleries and museums throughout the United States. He has numerous works in public and private collections internationally. He received a National Endowments for the Arts Apprenticeship Grant as well as the SECA Award from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. His work has been published and reviewed extensively in major periodicals and publications. He has taught sculpture at the University of California at Berkeley, San Jose State University, University of Montana and the University of Utah. Clay Jensen is currently teaching sculpture at the California College of the Arts, where he has been for over 25 years.
Intaglio on Handmade Paper
I use the skills and demands of papermaking and printmaking to produce my abstract work. This process merges the two media. My prints do not begin with a preconceived subject, but rather evolve through the interaction of printmaking and papermaking. I find the endless possibilities of this sometimes unpredictable process liberating and exciting.
Over the years I have made a variety of paper and etching plates. These are the raw materials that I begin with. I consider the abstract images on the etching plates my vocabulary. As I work on a composition, I make design decisions about how to combine the raw materials into a finished print. Printing without the ability to make a proof—having only one chance to get it right—keeps this process fresh. I often rework areas until I am satisfied with the balance of the color and the entire composition.
Along with this spontaneous approach, I value craftsmanship. Depending on their size and complexity, my prints may require months of work in order to complete one piece. The size of the prints can vary from intimate to large-scale 9 ft. images. I draw and produce etching plates, dye and macerate paper fiber, make sheets, then chine collé (collage) these sheets on top of each other while printing inked plates. This final step involves simultaneously placing different layers of paper through the etching press in one pull to unite them. The group of prints shown in this exhibition is new, one-of-a-kind, and completely unique.
Materials: paper fiber (cotton, flax, abaca, and kozo), powdered pigments, natural dyes, Jin Shofu (Japanese wheat paste), etching ink
I am a professor of art and chair the Art department at Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, California.
The Oakland Museum of California; Adobe Systems; Apple Computers; Dole Food Company, Inc.; Kaiser Permanente, Fresno and Fairfield, CA; Bank of California; Union Bank of Switzerland; The Fairmont Hotels; R.W. Nielson Assoc., Sunnyvale, CA; Notre Dame de Namur University
SELECTED EXHIBITIONS AND PUBLICATIONS
Isda and Co., San Francisco; California Society of Printmakers One Hundred Years 1913-2013, edited by Marly Snow; Estampa, Madrid, Spain; Tula Prints, Cordoba, Spain; Paper: An Inspirational Portfolio, Watson-Guptill Publications, Warren, MI; Realism and Abstraction: Four Printmakers, Wiegand Gallery, NDNU; Holland Papier Biennale, Museum Rijswijk, Den Haag, The Netherlands; Paper and Fire, Gentenaar Publishing, Ghent, Belgium;: Intaglio Prints on Handmade Paper, Hallside Gallery, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah; Founder’s Day Exhibition, California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland, CA.; I. Wolk Gallery, St. Helena, CA.; Triton Museum of Art, Santa Clara, CA.; J.D. Neumann, San Francisco, CA.; Galex 39, Best Fine Print, Galesburg, Ill.; Gump’s, San Francisco