In bringing collage and assemblage works that recall the twentieth century master, Joseph Cornell, Julius Clar confronts us with two distinct traditions, one rooted in the whimsical visions of Western Modernism and the other in the more politically charged spheres of the Filipino avant-garde aspirations of the 1960s that equally inform his practice. Clar’s world, both inside and outside of his boxes, is one drawn primarily from his quixotic imagination. The humdrum and marvel of his art conceals a reality that is often laden with melancholy and an aversion to connect directly with the world beyond his own memory of people and places. The countless techniques that he practiced over the years formed an alternative language at a time when the artist witnessed the obsolescence of artistic forms in collage and most notably in photography.
Clar has created a wide variety of handmade materials and ephemera largely in the form of book pages, rejected photographs, posters, and memorabilia. As a result, his rarely exhibited works combine his insightful experience as an academic and as a professional photographer.
What is notable of Clar is the articulation of a distinctly personal taste through the respective creation of new visual strategies that teeter on the fringes of what collage and assemblage could be and how they could be read. In this exhibition we find him exploring subjects and themes of travel, nature, antiques, poetry (the title was taken from a verse of TS Eliot’s The Wasteland) and representations of women, from dated documents and artifacts.
Clar’s artworks manifest a fixation with the manipulation of material: his collaging became a means to navigate emotional sites and significant terrains in the margin of the subconscious. By utilizing a range of materials continuously accumulated and scattered about in his home studio, Clar creates visual eccentricities that provoke a rundown of his own spiritual condition. These assemblages wallow in the activity of self-reflection, functioning as fragments shored against the artist’s ruin, examining the internal and external forces that plague and configure the constantly evolving perception of the artist and his surroundings.
About the Artist
Clar is known for employing alternative photographic processes such as the Van Dyke method of printing. He was Chair of the Photography Program at the De La Salle – College of Saint Benilde. In his career spanning over 30 years, Clar has shown work at the Ayala Museum, Lopez Museum, Cultural Center of the Philippines and Art Center, among others. His last solo exhibition was held at 20 Square – Silverlens Galleries in 2008.
Clar is slated to teach a black and white photography class with Light and Space Contemporary this May 2013.
View the exhibition through this website.