More information on Pierre Clerk
Pierre Clerk was born in Atlanta, Georgia on April 26, 1928. He studied fine arts at McGill University, Loyola College and at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in Montreal, Canada. He traveled abroad to seek further instruction at the Academy Julien in Paris, France and the Accademia di belle Arti in Florence Italy.
Pierre Clerk has been widely recognized for his stellar work in and contribution to modern art. Select awards and grants include: Canadian Council Awards, 1971,72; Tamarind Fel, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1972; United States Information Service Exhibition Grant, 1977; Municipal Art Society Grant, 1977; United States Department Travel Grant, 1977-78.
The images of Pierre Clerk’s graphic works directly relate to ideas he uses in his painting, tapestries and sculpture. Big, bold and commanding, these images, although associated with a North American point of view, have worldwide appeal.
Clerk first came to national attention in the U.S. in the spring of 1956, when he was chosen as one of three artists to be featured in the Museum of Modern Art’s 9th New Talent Exhibition. The New York Times described the show as “one of the best in this series” and went on to say: “Clerk’s boldly colored and decorative non-objective oils are in the general tradition of Matisse and are laid out in deliberate patterns like those in an oriental rug, handsome and clear in their planning.” Since the mid-1950s, his work has been included in many group and solo shows. In 2010, the gallery Cortex Athletico in Bordeaux, France, mounted a large show of paintings and smaller sculptures. Called 70/10, the show presented a dialogue between recent works and those of the 1970s. Speaking of his own work, Clerk cites Theo van Doesburg, Piet Mondrian, Neoplasticism, Brancusi, and the cubism of Picasso as major influences.
In addition to painting, Clerk has also created monumental sculptures of note. In 1977, four of Clerk’s large sculptures, which the artist crafted specifically for the location, were installed at Waterside Plaza, an apartment complex on Manhattan’s East River. Sponsored by the Public Arts Council of the Municipal Art Society, the installation garnered a positive review in the New York Times. Of the large geometric pieces, Paul Goldberger wrote: “The success of the Clerk exhibition, which will remain at Waterside Plaza for an indefinite period, is an obvious reminder of the extent to which sculpture can assist in solving an architectural problem…. The sculptures neither give in to the buildings nor fight them; instead they treat them almost playfully, teasing the towers’ somber forms, yet never becoming shrill or unkind. It is the sort of balance more urban sculpture should strike.”