Clint Woods – PRACTICE March 4- April 25, Park National Bank Gallery, UC Clermont College

March 31st, 2019  |  Published in March 2019

There is a strong sense of the sacred in the work of Clint Woods.  His own words offer the work as “employing a triggering device – a call to seek and reflect; that makes conscious what has been buried in the unconscious, drawing the viewer into awareness.”   Through images and form he shares with others that which is formless “  – awe, wonder, pattern and connection.”

As a viewer entering the gallery space at UC Clermont to spend time with the work, more evocative words spring to mind:  “sacred, struggle, internal, quietude, mindful, golden mean, sacred geometry, universal, nature, oneness….”  The list could go on.  Suffice it to say, in this collection of immaculately executed works, Woods succeeds in drawing the viewer into a sense of the divine, however it may resonate for each individual.

The work, crafted in a meticulous, highly rendered way, is all in grayscale, pushing the boundaries between dark and light.  The artist’s use of materials enhances the work itself in that it transcends the materiality of visual work displayed in a gallery setting.  One cannot tell how it was made.   Entering the gallery, the viewer is immediately aware of there being no explanation to accompany the work on display.  There are no titles, no materials listed, no dates, no statements.  One can pick up a postcard at the entrance as a keepsake that may give a bit of perspective, but other than that, the images speak for themselves and we must make our own way from there. It is in this way that this body of work first resembles convening with the sacred.

Much of the work involves figures, which find themselves inside out, or mixing with and growing into and out of the natural world around them.  They evoke an evisceration and deterioration of the body physically, but also speak to an opening of all that is to be found outside of the body spiritually.  There are repeating patterns between the figures and their surroundings, making it clear that while the figure may struggle internally, it is most definitely part of a greater whole.

While the images containing a human body seem to resonate along the lines of a Buddhist sensibility, there seem to be other human paths to the divine explored in this show.   Through the utilization of creative matting, framing and gallery distribution, nods to Egyptian pyramids can be seen in some of the work.

In other pieces, it is the archways and rounded frames, which appear to pay a small homage to medieval churches and the Christian tradition, which can concurrently be read as mandalas from Buddhism.  Content in the work most definitely drives perception in round matting, however.  While some pieces may read as Gothic-era Rose windows, others appear as views down a microscope.  Science is, for some, a direct path to understanding the divine.

There are a number of works which incorporate multiple images in one piece.  On one wall, a collection of these seemed to this reviewer as an exploration of concepts such as the Native American Dream Catchers, or the chakras from many Eastern traditions.

This reviewer opted specifically not to delve too deeply into the concepts which may or may not have driven these exquisite works of visual art.  Instead, I opted to meet the work on the gallery wall, void of explanation, and to find my own way through it.  The show runs through April 25, with a reception April 9, 2019.   It is well worth the effort to see.

–Amy Bogard

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