Antonio Clemente

Antonio Clemente

Antonio Clemente

I make art because it is the only thing that makes complete sense in my life. Art for me is evocative; it tells a story of who I am. It is not a narrative. The primaryemotions intimate to me, that no-one else sees, are embedded in my paintings and photographs. Cryptic messages, expressed through complex layers where each layer serves a purpose, tell the story for me and about me. My works are enigmatic – an open-ended story of short messages.

Although I work deliberately, consciously employing both traditional and innovative techniques, my subconscious is the undisputed project manager. My arrangements are schematic, inviting the viewer to move into a space of speculation, reproducing familiar surrounding and arranging them into conceptual layers.

The scale of my work is important. My paintings are over-scaled. I need planes in which to physically move the paint around. Experimentation is crucial to this process – again, this form of experimentation with chemicals, solvents, pigments, oils and acrylics is highly physical – it requires an expansive surface for the alchemy to take place. The slide photography I create is in sympathy with the painting process. The micro layered slides are physically hand-manipulated, connecting my practice with photographic traditions, principally the photographer’s relationship with the camera – that unknowingness where what
is captured is a mystery until it is processed and hand-layered.

The decisive moment is important in both painting and photography. I need to feel the moment when the layers come together to create the visual and emotional statement that defines me. Sources of inspiration come from decay and ruin – old settler cottages, expansive brooding skies, barren landscapes are reoccurring themes. These images appear in layers in my photographs, but are most often an essence of the experience of these actualities in my paintings.

How do I know when I will “finish” with art? I have ambitions – to exhibit widely in Australia and overseas. I still have much to say about both my practice and my relationship with art. I continue to make because I continue the story of who I am. As I wrote in the beginning of this statement, my story is not a narrative – it will never be complete. In many ways, it is up to the viewer of my works to complete me through layering their own experiences, narratives and filters onto the works they connect with.