Clark Derbes

Clark Derbes at Devin Borden Gallery

Clark Derbes at Devin Borden Gallery

February 21 through April 26

Clark Derbes  American Sculpture

Clark Derbes (b. 1978) is an emerging artist who lives in Burlington, Vermont.   He is known for painting and his sculptures created from found wood.  These are initially carved using a chainsaw into a form known as a “hypercube,” a twelve-sided rectangular solid which Derbes stumbled upon in his quest for shaped surfaces on which to paint.  These forms are then smoothed down using a succession of mechanical sanders and finally by hand until the wood is completely smooth to the touch.  At this point he begins to apply layers of gouche in freehand checkerboards, concentric triangles, rectangles and other patterns in a range of palettes from very vibrant to subdued.

In the Boston Globe, his work was described in a recent review of the Clark Gallery exhibition also titled American Sculpture:

Clark Derbes’s lean and remarkable sculptures, wrought with a chainsaw from old tree stumps, seem to quote old game boards, boxes, and quilt patterns.  Derbes riddles with perspective, volume, and space. “Sunny,” a box covered with a velvety checkerboard pattern, sits on a shelf.  Look closely, and it’s really more like a drawing describing a box: A corner lifts into the air, and the object itself is no cube; it’s more like a wedge….A wall sculpture, might be taken for a long, low box decorated with concentric rectangles, the shapes of which Derbes tweaks and cinches to animate the piece and skew our perceptions of its shape.  Cracks open along the sanded surface, reminding us that this is a solid piece of wood; Derbes revels in the tensions between his deft illusion and the telltake revelations of it. – Cate McQuaid 5/29/2014 The Boston Globe


Clark Derbes received his BFA in painting from Louisiana State University.  He has had solo exhibitions in Vermont, Massachusetts, Louisiana and Texas. 

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