IMPRESSIONISM IS A 19TH CENTURY ART MOVEMENT CHARACTERISED BY OPEN COMPOSITIONS MADE WITH SMALL BRUSH STROKES THAT FOCUSSES ON LIGHT AND HOW SHAPES ARE CREATED BY ITS CONSTANT CHANGING QUALITIES. IN OTHER WORDS, INSTEAD OF PAINTING WHAT WE BELIEVE WE SEE, IMPRESSIONISTS GAVE MERELY AN IMPRESSION OF WHAT WE SEE. SHAPES CREATED BY SHADES OF LIGHT AND SHADOW.
Although he strongly said otherwise, artist Edgar Degas (1834-1917) is counted among the most prominent Impressionists. But his technique differs from his peers in the way that he solely concentrated on light. A technique he applied not only in his paintings but also later in his life, when he discovered the magic of photography. He took portrait shots of friends, often with the simple use of one light, resulting in haunting images of light spots filling up the negative spaces in his compositions and thus creating what the eye sees.
John M. Clum was born August 19, 1953 in Lyons, NY, the son of two Pentecostal ministers. Early in his childhood there were signs of his creativity, but circumstances were not conducive to allowing this part of him to emerge. At the age of 16 he left the loving but strict supervision of his family in Syracuse, NY, and moved into a commune in Boston, MA. Learning of life's diversity and alternatives first-hand at an early age, he opened himself to many different religious beliefs and alternative lifestyles. He returned to Syracuse to finish High School and graduated in 1971.
It was a restless time, full of enriching life experiences resulting in the resolution of major issues. In 1979 he met a wonderful man named Alan Robbins, who would share his life from that point on. Many of the voids in his life were resolved in this relationship. Eleven years into their relationship Al recognized the manifestations of John's creative tendencies. He began to encourage John to follow in the steps of his grandfather, a stained-glass artist from Elmira, NY. And so in 1990 at age 37 John embarked on a new journey of self-discovery as an artist. He began working in stained glass. At the same time, he would enter a dark period of passage that would intensify his passion for life and art. During this period of his life, with Al's encouragement and support, John decided to pursue his intense need to record life as he saw it.
In 1993 John Clum took up formal studies in studio art at Binghamton University in Binghamton, NY. John has studied under artist, printmaker, and painter Linda Sokolowski, the late artist and sculptor Charles Eldred, and artists and painters Don DeMauro and David Shapiro. "For me, life is a series of visual observations,” John said back in 1997. “I feel that the quality and integrity of those observations are my responsibility. I choose to draw, to observe and record light as it moves through the spaces of my existence. The communication is reciprocal. What begins as a touch of graphite on paper, or paint on canvas, becomes sensual exchange." Edgar Degas could not have said it better.
John’s latest work comprises a vast collection monotype prints. Inspired by the technique and art of Edgar Degas, John made these prints by rolling a blank metal plate with ink and then wrapping your finger with gauze and then removing the ink to create an image. You then print it on rag paper. You only get one print due to the fact that there is no etching involved and the entire image is removed with one printing. The result is a series of one-of-a-kind artworks that display his subjects in shapes that are created by light and shadow and give an impression of reality. –BM-