By MIKE CHAIKEN
A piece of Connecticut culture was hanging in Paris in December.
Southington artist, and noted surrealist, Clinton Deckert had the opportunity to hang one of his pieces, “Beneath the Milieu” at the Carrousel du Louvre in Paris at the Delegation Officielle des États-Unis D’Amerique, Salon 2013, Societe Nationale des Beaux Arts.
Deckert’s piece was selected for the international event after the SNBA (Societe Nationale des Beaux Arts) chose “Beneath the Milieu” from 10 of his other recent works.
“Having work in Carrousel du Louvre was a fantastic feeling since my work was sharing walls with other artists from around the world such as Brazil, China, Canada, South Korea, Spain, Hungary, Japan, Turkey, and Switzerland and the crowds were huge,” said Deckert via email.
“Some purists will point out the difference between the Carrousel du Louvre and The Louvre,” explained Deckert. “Basically, The Louvre collection spans 9,000 years but stops in the mid 1800s, so by default it is only exhibiting dead artists, and the Carrousel du Louvre is a contemporary high-end market that has an exhibition hall that features events including living artists. The bottom section of the famous glass Pyramide du Louvre (Louvre Pyramid), designed by Chinese architect IM Pei, is in this wing.”
“No matter how you cut it,” said Deckert, “it’s still in the Louvre, man. It was all very impressive. I am man enough to say that I was actually choked up on a few occasions when standing face to face with some great cultural icons that up to that point, I have only studied in books. Seeing the real deal was astounding.”
As for how he felt about the opportunity to expose his work to a Parisian audience, Deckert said, “Every day is an opportunity to expand the audience and in Paris I had the chance to meet new people, network with artists, collectors and gallery owners. All good networking will plant the seeds for future opportunities. You just never know when they will arise. Sometimes they are immediate and other times they will come to fruition years later.”
As for the particular work selected for the salon, which is now concluded, Deckert said, “It demonstrates my approach, or ‘signature style.’ My technique is both exploratory and spontaneous.”
“I started this piece by splashing thin washes of dark of paint on board and then blotted and manipulated wet paint with solvent, rags and brush. I then take a step back to see what develops as the paint runs, drips and blends into the white surface,” said Deckert. “I prefer to think of it as a painterly alchemy or conjuring of creative spirits. The subtle implied images that are generated are similar to the imagined objects that you may see in a clouded sky. These chance images then need to be refined with additional color and be resolved until the composition balances as a whole. I try not to think too much and just let the paint tell me what to do next. The canvas is my magic carpet and is an escape vehicle for me. I hope the viewer may utilize the liberty of their imagination and use my work as a catalyst for their own daydreaming experience.”
“Some of the best compliments that I have received are when a collector states that they can always recognize one of my works without even reading the signature, or every time they look at the work they see something new that did not seem to be there before upon last view,” said Deckert of his own particular artistic “canon.” “That makes me smile since I strive for originality and have succeeded.”
Besides the opportunity to show his own work in Paris, the trip also provided an opportunity to view the works of the masters hanging in the Louvre.
“I learned that creativity really knows no bounds and that I still have a lot to learn,” said Deckert. “It also made me realize that an artist’s work can live on past their existence here on earth and inspire people for centuries and even millennia. It is rewarding to know that ones’ creative work can live on and this fact motivates me to stay prolific. It a strange way it seems to validate my own existence… at least I hope so.”
The artwork he saw in Paris has gotten Deckert’s own inspiration “percolating and fermenting.”
“It’s like a fine art compost pile in my Theater of Thoughts,” said the Southington resident. “I always have several ideas in my head and this visit to the Louvre and also the Pompidou Center, D’Orsay Museum, Notre-Dame Cathedral, plus the art everywhere in the city architecture has inspired fertile thoughts for future work.”
“Now,” continued Deckert, “the trick is how to merge these influences into my work and yet remain true to my art. Usually what I visualize in my head evolves into something completely different by the time it reaches the canvas anyway. So at least the influences of this trip will be a good starting point from here on out. My work always evolves and most of the changes are subconscious and not intentional. It’s just evolutional. Change is inevitable in all things including how new art is created. I think it will be best for the audience to judge the before and after works for themselves.”
Deckert, who has shown his works at Paris in Plantsville in Southington, the New Britain Museum of American Art, and numerous other U.S. venues, said the opportunity to show a piece in Paris, will hopefully boost his own marketability as an artist.
“This event will add some additional credibility to the biography and resume and it further endorses the perceived value of what I do, which is creating art,” said Deckert. “In the end, all art is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it, but I hope this helps increase its merit.”