Clark Derbes

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Marcia Wood Gallery is delighted to announce the first solo exhibition in Atlanta of sculptures by Clark Derbes. Clark Derbes was born in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1978. He earned a BFA at Louisiana State University, and currently lives and works in Vermont. He has exhibited extensively nationally in galleries and art institutions for fifteen years.

Clark Derbes describes his work as "sculptures of paintings of sculptures". Known for his painting and his sculpture, Derbes's optically illusionistic sculptures subvert the viewers expectations as they slowly reveal themselves.

The upcoming exhibition focuses on his carved wood sculptures that hang on the wall or stand on a pedestal. Energetically geometric and richly colored, Derbe's work plays with the viewers concepts of reality and delights when the actuality is discovered. The artist has called the humble blocks of wood, seemingly awkwardly carved, covered with dizzying geometries that contradict immediate interpretations, "simultaneously primitive and futuristic". What appears to be a flat surface painted with a trompe l'oeil illusion of shapes projecting into space, is in fact a 3 dimensional carved wood form. Derbes uses a chain saw to cut wood blocks from a variety of woods, such as elm, poplar, maple, etc. into a form called a "hypercube" a twelve-sided rectangular solid he stumbled upon in his quest for a form on which to paint. Continuing to sculpt the wood block to it's final form, Derbes then paints it with gouache, sands it down and rubs it with notepaper, leaving it with a satiny surface. His palette ranges from vibrantly rich jewel tones to subdued neutrals. Derbes uses geometry, pattern, shape, and scale shifts to obtain a degree of trompe l‘oeil that is both familiar and esoteric. The geometric patterns he paints onto the wood freehand create deft illusions of perspective, volume and space.