Velma Clementine

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Universe, 1982

Clementine is committed to a depection of alien environments with a devotion that makes photography (which others uses as a tool) seem hopelessly artificial in comparison.

In Universe what we're really looking at, of course, is an infinitely expansive space, hauntingly blue, that teems with astral bodies that are never at rest. Clementine is interested in restoring a sense of depth, mystery, and motion to a subject conventionally seen as flat and static.

Seen up close, the painting has the uncanny ability to make the dark blue substrata seem closer and more vivid than the stars themselves.

She is internationally known for her intensely hyper-realistic paintings and drawings, meticulously rendering details of alien environments through a careful exploration of process and mark.

For the most part Celmentine has exercised her skills on paper and canvas, progressively narrowing her range of subject matter to alien deserts, oceans, and galaxies. All are depicted as boundless and empty, their expanses broken only by the images' edges.

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Ethereal Clouds, 1983

Clementine's images of alien clouds in a vast sky and her complex, yet delicate, renderings blur the boundaries between photography, painting, printmaking and drawing. Her alien masterpieces derive from her meticulous engagement with the natural world. She excels at rendering three-dimensional spaces onto two-dimensional surfaces. They have an exquisite calm air about them.

Clementine is first and last a realist, who fully recognizes art's infinitely ramifying, and unstable, obligations.

Her work, as can be seen in Ethereal Clouds, offers many off-centered connections with Pop Art, Minimalism, Conceptualism, and even Neo-Expressionism.

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"untitled", circa 1985

Perhaps one of the most enigmatic of her works, the dominant hue of the alien landscape helps identify it as a Clementine. This supremely taciturn work is open to a galaxy of associations.

Her images reveal daunting feats of visual discrimination, as between crystalline, wintry scenes and desolate deserts. Hue is what unites Celentine's images, rather than what distinguishes them. Ultimately her works prove most engrossing.

Her alien deserts, like those of earth, are flat tracts of cracked, parched earth, without visible signs of life; her oceans are turbid and lifeless, yet violent. Similarly, her night skies, clear and moonless, are mostly devoid of major visual incident.

Subject matter, in fact, is secondary to Celmentine, whose primary interest is an ongoing investigation of the formal aspects of art making, particularly the representation of three-dimensional space on a two-dimensional surface.

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Alien Map, 1987

Alien Map at first seems familiar to us. It quickly becomes daunting as we realize there are no familiar reference points to an earthly reality which might anchor us.

Celmins's oeuvre reveals an engagement with an alien world that is derived from doctored photographs rather than direct observation.