Similar to the way a Jazz performer uses a familiar song as a starting point for improvisation, artist Richard Claraval uses the human figure as inspiration for creating Abstract Expressionist gesture in his charcoal drawings and adding abstract forms to his polystyrene sculptures. These extend the figure physically, emotionally and philosophically. Sometimes these gestures and shapes eurhythmically echo the figure, a la the draperies and landscapes of Renaissance and Romantic art, and sometimes they make visible the beautiful lines inscribed in space by dancers and athletes. Being enamored of both the Renaissance human figure and Abstract Expressionism, Claraval seeks a fusion of the two. Both are deeply involved with the kinesthetic sense. Just as one “feels into” the of a figure moving through space, the sense that one is moving with the arcs and slashes of Abstract Expressionism is clear. Having a strongly romantic bent, Claraval’s work is often passionate and intense, and Classical music is a main reason for this and one of his biggest inspirations. https://.richardclaraval.net -----------------
Claraval's honors include a juror’s award at the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh’s Annual Exhibition at the Carnegie Museum of Art and a juror’s award at a group exhibition at Panza Gallery. His drawings and sculptures have been in solo and group exhibitions in galleries and museums throughout the Eastern U.S., including The Bascom Center for the Visual Arts, in North Carolina, the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Westmoreland Museum of Art and Gallery NK in Washington, D.C. His male nudes have been featured in The Art of Man Magazine. Mr. Claraval’s work is in collections throughout the east, including Westinghouse Corporation, collection of Dr. Ted Steliotes and the Friends of Art Pittsburgh. Born in 1952, Claraval grew up in a small western Pennsylvanian town, and now resides in Pittsburgh. He received a B.A. in art from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1977. ----------------
Some notes on my process:
Drawings: I sometimes start with a general, cloud-like image of the entire piece in my mind – and then gradually bring it into focus, adding in the figure and other elements at the same time. In this case I create a pose for the figure that fits my overall vision. Another, more common, approach is to take a beautiful photo or sketch of a figure and create the entire composition around this – the abstract parts intersecting the figure and going out into the page. I then lightly sketch the figure in the pose and placement I want, and work back and forth between the figure and the gestures.
Sculpture: I tend to make a lot of sketches as the start of my sculptures. Usually I work with large blocks of Styrofoam that I get straight from the manufactures. I use a large hot wire tool to cut the gross shape. I rough it out with a reciprocating saw and paint scraper tools. Then files and finally sandpaper complete the process. People often ask how it get the fine detail --that is achieved with very small – perhaps ¼ by ¾ inch -- pieces of sandpaper (and a lot of perfectionism).
Indiana University of Pa., BA Fine Art
On going til May 26, 2018, Solo Exhibition, Panza Gallery, Pittsburgh, Pa
2018 Panza Gallery, Pittsburgh, Pa. Solo Exhibition
2017 The Space Upstairs, Pittsburgh, Pa. Duo Exhibition
2016 Spinning Plate Gallery, Pittsburgh, Pa Solo Exhibition
2016 Gallery NK, Washington, D.C. Duo Exhibition
2015 Spinning Plate Gallery, Solo Exhibition, Pittsburgh, Pa
2014 Spinning Plate Gallery, (curator and participant) Pittsburgh, Pa., Group Exhibit, upcoming
2014 Westmoreland Museum of American Art, Associated Artists of Pittsburgh Annual, Greensburg, Pa., Group Exhibit
2014 Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Gallery, Three Rivers Arts Festival Juried Exhibition, Pittsburgh, Pa, Group Exhibit.
2014 Spinning Plate Gallery, Pittsburgh, Pa., Solo Exhibit, upcoming
2013-2014 Bascom Center for the Visual Arts, Highlands, NC, Group Exhibit, American Art Today: Figures
2013 – 2014 Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, Ligonier, Pa., Regional Group Exhibit
2013 Imagebox Gallery, Pittsburgh, Pa. Solo Exhibit,
2013 Spinning Plate Gallery, Pittsburgh, Pa. Solo Exhibit,
2013 ARTica, Pittsburgh, Pa., Solo Exhibition
2013 Gallery 4, Pittsburgh, Pa., Group Exhibit
2013 Modernformations Gallery, Pittsburgh, Pa. Solo Exhibit