The Arts Club of Washington has announced the upcoming exhibition, Manon Cleary, Obsessive Observer: A New Perspective Through Her Photographic Studies.
The exhibition, produced by her husband, F. Steven Kijek, explores for the first time Cleary’s use of photography in creating her paintings and works on paper. Within the arc of these works one can follow Cleary’s observation and exploration of composition, shadow and light in her photographs and her final works. Cleary, who passed away in 2011, was an acclaimed artist and was heavily involved in the DC arts scene for several decades.
The exhibition runs from April 4 to April 26, with an opening reception on Friday, April 4 from 6 pm to 9 pm in the Arts Club of Washington’s galleries located at 2017 “I” Street, NW, Washington, D.C. Dr. Jack Rasmussen, director and curator of the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center, is the guest curator for the exhibition.
This exhibition is the first to focus on the artist’s use of photographic studies and provides fresh insight into Cleary’s creative process. The show presents works from the Estate of Manon Cleary, as well as a few private collectors, including selections from Cleary’s Mystery Series, Breathless Series, and graphite drawings, all to be displayed beside her photographic studies.
Cleary explained that she worked primarily from photographs, stating that she used “graphite or oils to produce works that are photographically convincing but not necessarily with fidelity to my photo sources. I would like the viewer to notice the unique interpretation – the “me”- I bring to my work.” Cleary wrote in the early 1980s, “abstraction of forms successfully freed me from reliance on photo images, with results being photographically convincing, but not photographically accurate.”
The Arts Club of Washington will host additional events open to the public to further explore the art of Manon Cleary. A symposium, “Between Painting and Photography: The Vision of Manon Cleary,” will be held on April 9 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm. Panelists will include Susan Hauptman, whose drawings are in numerous museum collections including those of the National Portrait Gallery, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Corcoran Gallery, Judy Greenberg, director of the Kreeger Museum, Jared Miller, a former student of Cleary’s, Jack Rasmussen, director and curator of the American University Museum at the Katzen Art Center, Eric Denker, senior lecturer at the National Gallery of Art, and Erich Keel, former head of education at the Kreeger Museum.
A catalog produced for this exhibition features an essay by Stephen May, a frequent contributor to Art News and other publications. In addition, F. Steven Kijek will present an illustrated lecture on Manon Cleary’s life and art on April 22 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm. The Arts Club invites the academic community to use the exhibition for its fine art and art history students and plans additional opportunities for use by professors and students.