Clarence James is a contemporary artist creating abstract figurative expressionist paintings. These artworks are a cacophony of words, colors and images create pulsating surfaces that suggest a mental universe in a constant state of flux. The works have a stream of consciousness quality that encourages viewers to create their own visual pathways and associations. Images of staircases, arrows and ladders suggest upward movement and aspiration but ricochet off other motifs like diamonds or dollar signs that denote consumption and greed. Old fashioned televisions topped with rabbit ear antennae are paired with the number 84 as a reminder of how long the media has held us in its sway. Pyramids and atoms point to the vast span of human technology. Texts are often hopeful. Paintings are peppered with individual words like “love,” “free,” “future” and “climb” while phrases remind us that “we can be who we want to be” and “I can be what I want to be.” Together these motifs express the tensions we all feel between the weight of culture and society and our need for freedom, love and self-assertion.
James focuses on being present and showing gratitude. In his own words, “I feel blessed and fortunate to have survived situations and environments that have been adverse and dangerous and some could have resulted in my demise, but I have been able to rely on a belief in God and the use of universal metaphysical truths like faith, hope and love as guides and protectors. I do not take this opportunity for granted to be alive and creating artwork for people to see and I strive to share this type of gratitude and inspiration as a blueprint to spiritual elevation, within the context of our global economic world, it is perhaps the highest good to create things that can make our world a better place.”