ARTISTíS STATEMENT


†††† "When I decided to become an artist there was no basis, no reason, really nothing of substance on which to found a belief that I could hope to make a career in art. It is the same condition, I imagine, that any of us experience at the conception of a desire to do something important for ourselves. We cannot know if we shall succeed; therefore we begin with hope and faith. We begin also perhaps, with that slightly manic and feverish quality of desire so peculiar to the young, who can so poignantly say - and believe -that "hoping so hard will surely make it so"

†††† In 1957, Ike was smiling at the country and the country was smiling back. Everyone seemed to be busy planning room additions and accruing major appliances. Detroit was making cars which looked like chromed torpedoes. I was newly committed to art. Without a whisper of a style and very unsure of myself, I began to explore and, with a kind of tenuous enthusiasm, to mimic the art I saw everywhere around me.This was Abstract Expressionism, the most significant development in art in the late 1940s and 1950s. The impact of this movement was shifting the capital of the art world from Paris to New York City, and its influence on artists around the country was becoming pervasive and in many areas, dominant.

†††† To those of us in the distant province of southern California, far from the great art capital, the principles of Abstract Expressionism seemed to arrive like liberating directives from headquarters, usually in the form of rumor or innuendo. Rightly or wrongly, we in our little circle came to believe that the correct approach was to stand before a large, or even better, an enormous stretched canvas, and empty oneself of any contaminating preconceptions or visualizations of the prospective painting. This attitude, we believed, would provide the best opportunity to create something original, even personal. If not, at least it would free us from the taint and confinement of repetition, or worse, the black curse of being derivative.

†††† Originality was the key to a style of painting recognizably one's own and a personal style was like a prize which would only be awarded to the most sensitive, tenacious, and industrious among us. I think it was Marcel Duchamp who said, "I force myself to contradict myself so that I can avoid conforming to my own taste" For some of us, this idea became a part of the process of creating an abstract expressionist painting. In practice it worked this way: the artist would stand before his work in progress wondering what to do next (and what to do next was the everlasting dilemma). When he finally decided to act, then that would become the thing that he would not do. Imagine patting your head and rubbing your stomach while driving your car blindfolded and you will have the idea.

†††† Like most schizophrenics, criminals or artists, I'm out of step. First century reverence makes more sense to me than twentieth century sophistication. I see imagination as a better source of art than experience. Originality seems a natural byproduct of an artist's progress toward his potential, rather than a goal.
†††† Since my goal is art locked into the real universe, I believe that conforming to universal creative principles offers a better chance for success than ignoring or opposing them. I'm not interested in "self-expression" or "personal truth" but in truth itself, particularly in its aesthetic and spiritual dimensions. In fact I define art as the creative expression of truth.
†††† Because I use the trial and error method - mostly error - I experience painting as a series of emergencies building to a central crisis; will it be a work of art or trash? Even a good result is a mixed blessing because it can get you half believing that perfection is just around the corner. Not true of course; one of the beauties of perfection is that the closer you come to it, the farther away it gets.
†††† Certain distinctions often elude me as well; the difference between freedom and license, success and fulfillment, and especially between willfulness and tenacity. Years ago I approached all this with common sense, willpower and reason. These days I prefer something more practical, like prayer."

 


"I just follow my nose"


PROFILE

 
• "Animals are Us,," Intersection Gallery, San Diego, CA (one person show), 1996
• "Social Engagements," Municipal Art Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, 1995
• "Veiled Images," Austin State University, Nacogdoches, TX and Traveling, 1994
• SDTYAE, Yokohama, Japan and Traveling, 1992-93
• Faith Nightingale Gallery, San Diego, CA, 1992
• Calhoun Gallery, San Diego, CA (three person show), 1991
• "Works on Paper," Messiah College,. Grantham, PA and Traveling, 1991-93
• CIVA Exhibit, Biola University, La Mirada, CA, 1989
• "Fra Elskov Til Gud," Sandvika Administration of Culture, Oslo, Norway, 1988
• Venice Arts Festival, Venice, CA, 1988 Sushi Gallery, San Diego, CA 1988
• Biola University, La Mirada, CA (one person show), 1988
• Downey Museum of Art, Downey, CA (four person show) 1987
• Southwestern College Invitational, Chula Vista, CA 1987
• Feigen Gallery, Chicago, IL (one person show), 1986
• Acevedo Gallery, San Diego, CA (three person show),
• 1985 San Diego State University, San Diego, CA, 1985
• San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA (one person show), 1983
• Illuminarium, Mill Valley, CA (three person show), 1982
• Gallery Rebecca Cooper, New York, MY (one person show), 1981
• "Visionary Art," Walnut Creek Civic Arts Gallery, Walnut Creek, CA, 1981
• "Focus: Cliff McReynolds," San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, CA (one person show), 1980
• "Fourth Triennial-India," New Delhi, India, 1978; Tokyo, Japan, 1979, Oakland Museum of Art, Oakland, CA, 1979
• "Drawings of the Seventies," Chicago, IL, 1977
• "California Painting and Sculpture-The Modern Era," San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA, 1976
• "Mindscapes: Five California Artists,lt Oshkosh Museum, Oshkosh Museum, 1976
• "Alternative Realities," Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Il (five person show), 1976
• "Cliff McReynolds: Revelation Art," Gallery Rebecca Cooper, Washington, D.C. (one person show), 1976-77
• Visions Near and Far," Cabrillo College, Santa Cruz, CA, 1975
• "Drawing U.S.A.," Minnesota Museum of art, Minneapolis, MN, and Traveling, 1975-77
• "California-Hawaii Biennial," San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, CA, 1972 (1st prize award), 1974, 1978
• San Diego City College, San Diego, CA (one person show), 1971
• San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, La Jolla, CA (one person Show), 1967
• Sander Gallery, San Diego, CA (two person show), 1963
• San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, La Jolla, CA (one person show), 1959
• "Making Art and Eating Too," in The Forum, Cliff McReynolds, Academic Senate for CA Community Colleges, 1993, pp.26-28
• State of the Arts, Dr. Gene Veith, Crossway Books, 1991, pp. 190-93
• "Wonders of the Visible world" in Criticue of America," Cliff McReynolds, Alden Mills Pub., Feb. 1988, pp. 27-29
• San Diego Artists, Robert Perine, Artra Publishing Inc., 1988, pp. 148-151
• "Art Now: Give Me Liberty or Give Me License," in Hill Courier, Cliff McReynolds, San Diego, Feb. 1985, p. 7
• "Revelation Art," in Format: Art and the World, Cliff McReynolds, Seven Oaks Press, Aug 1982, pp. 18-21
• "Revelation Art: All Things New," Cliff McReynolds, an autobiography and survey of work since 1960, Pomegranate Press, 1980
• Who's Who in American Art, 1978-present
• Visions I, the work of seven visionary artists (forward by Walter Hopps), Pomegranate Press, 1977
• Magazines and other reproductions: Omni, 1977, 1980, 1982
• Graphis Annual, 1974
• Esquire, 1973
• United Artists Records, 1971, 1972, 1973
• Warner Brothers Records, 1970, 1973, 1977
• CRM Books, 1971 Psychology Today, 1969, 1971, 1972, 1973
• Pomegranate press, Rohnert Park, CA: publisher and distributor of posters and prints of Cliff McReynolds' work in the United States, Europe and Asia, 1974 to present.