Biography, CV & Artist Statement
Bill Claps is a visual artist, filmmaker and writer whose work comments on art history and language. He lives and works in New York City Born in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, he earned a Bachelor of Arts at Harvard University, where he studied painting and art history. He studied painting and drawing at the Art Students League in New York and in Florence, Italy. His paintings, drawings, and videos have been presented in exhibitions in galleries, museums and institutions around the world.
Internationally: Today Art Museum, Beijing; MOMA Tbilisi, Tbilisi, Georgia; Basel Photo, Basel, Switzerland; la Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica di Palazzo Corsini in Rome; Spazio Garibaldi 77, Milano; Laurent Marthaler Gallery, Montreux, Switzerland; Gallery@1, Gstaad, Switzerland; Galerie Marciano Contemporary, Paris; R Gallery, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; Artgeneve, Geneva; Art 33 Gallery, Hangzhao, China; Art Monaco; Evartspace, Geneva.
In the United States: Julie Keyes Fine Art (New York, Palm Beach), Salomon Arts Gallery (New York), Aspen Fine Arts Gallery (Aspen, Colorado), Exhibit Gallery (Tulsa, OK), Bendheim Gallery (Greenwich, Connecticut), Trout Museum of Art (Appleton, WI), Samuel Morse Museum (Pookeepsie, NY)
Bill is a contributing writer for Artspace.com and Exibart Magazine.
2019 “Bill Claps, Recent Works”, Marciano Contemporary, Paris, France
2018 “The Metaphysics of Nature”, Wutong Yard Art Space, Beijing, China
“Natural Abstractions III”, Keyes Art Projects, Palm Springs, California
“Natural Abstractions III”, Keyes Art Projects, Palm Beach, Florida
2017 “Artspeak”, MOMA Tbilisi, Tbilisi, Georgia
“Faces No. 3”, Galerie 55 Bellechase, Paris, France
“Explorations in Morse”, Samuel Morse Museum, Poughkeepsie, NY
“Natural Abstractions II”, International Club, Wellington, Florida
“In Gold We Must”, Rive Gallery, Westport, CT
“Recent Works”, Exhibit Gallery, Tulsa, OK
2016 “Natural Abstractions”, Spazzio Garibaldi 77, Milan, Italy
“Gilded & Unframed”, Gallery@1, Gstaad, Switzerland
2015 “Recent Works”, Exhibit Gallery, Tulsa, O.K.
“Pastoral Landscape, Present Tense”, Solomon Arts Gallery, New York, NY, two person show
2014 “Enduring Conundrum”, Evartspace, Geneva, Switzerland
“Artspeak”, Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica, Palazzo Corsini, Rome, Italy
2013 “Sum of the Parts”, Art for China Foundation, New York, N.Y.
2011 “From Line to Pixel”, Solomon Arts Gallery, N.Y, N.Y. , Two person show
2007 “Recent Works”, Rockwell Fine Art, Westport, CT.
2006 “Figurative Expressions”, Bendheim Gallery, Greenwich, CT.
“Autumn Passage”, Kismet Gallery, Westport, CT.
“Recent Works”, N.Y. Mercantile Exchange Gallery, New York, N.Y.
2005 Solo Show, Westport Arts Center, Westport, CT.
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS
2020. “Morality/Skull Exhibition (name TBD)”, curated by Donald Kuspit, American University Museum, Washington, DC
2019 “Fifteen Minutes: A Tribute to Warhol”, Trout Museum of Art, Appleton, WI (Three person show with Julien Opie and Peter Dayton)
“Harmonic Collaboration”, Art 33 Gallery, Hangzhao, China (Two person show with sculptor Lin Gang)
“All that Glitters”, Keyes Art Gallery, Sag Harbor, NY (Three person show with Peter Reginato & Duncan Chamberlain)
“Inaugural Exhibition”, Keyes Art Gallery, Sag Harbor, NY
2018 “Character Cultivation Can Not Be Taught by the Teacher”, Today Art Museum, Beijing, China
“Gallery Artists”, Marciano Contemporary, Paris, France
“Artists in Aso”, Kumomoto, Japan
“Hello”, Keyes Art, East Hampton, NY
“No Longer Supported”, Sara Nightengale Gallery, Sag Harbor, NY
“Around the Clock”, Gallery 88.5, New York, NY
2017 “The Collection”, R Gallery, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
2016 “Gallery Artists”, Salomon Arts Gallery, New York, NY
2015 “Respond”, Smack Mellon Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
"Artspeak Installation", The (un)Fair, New York, NY (commission during Armory Week)
"Artmix", Evartspace, Geneva, Switzerland
"Anniversary Show: 21'st Precinct", Judith Charles Gallery, New York, NY
2014 “The Skull Show”, Curated by Carrie Lederer, Bedford Gallery at the
Lesher Center for the Arts, Walnut Creek, CA
“21st Precinct”, Curated by Rob Aloia, 21st Precinct Space, New York, N.Y
“Tribeca Pioneer Artists Exhibition”, Salomon Arts Gallery, New York, N.Y.
2013 “Curate NYC”, Gallery Brooklyn, Brooklyn, N.Y.
“Gallery Artists”, Exhibit Gallery, Tulsa, O.K.
2012 “2012 Benefit Show”, White Box, New York, N.Y.
2011 “Curate NYC”, Rush Arts Gallery, New York, N.Y.
2009 “Group Exhibition”, Priska C. Juschka Fine Art, New York, N.Y.
2008 “Vibrance”, Henry Gregg Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
“Exhibition 19”, 14thStreet Gallery, New York, N.Y.
2007 “Exhibition 18”, 14thStreet Gallery, New York, N.Y.
“Group Exhibition”, Canco Gallery, Jersey City, N.J.
2006 ”Gallery Artists”, Aspen Fine Arts Gallery, Aspen, Co.
2005 ”Gallery Artists”, Aspen Fine Arts Gallery, Aspen, Co.
“Exhibition 16”, 14th Street Gallery, New York, N.Y.
2004 “Summer Exhibition”, D. D. & B. Gallery, Brooklyn, N.Y.
“Small Works”, Washington Square East Galleries, New York, N.Y.
2019 “Photo Basel”, Basel, Switzerland, with Laurent Marthaler Contemporary (Montreux, Switzerland)
Contemporary Istambul, Laurent Marthaler Contemporary (Montreux, Switzerland)
Palm Beach Modern & Contemporary Fair, Laurent Marthaler Contemporary (Montreux, Switzerland)
Art Winwood, Laurent Marthaler Contemporary (Montreux, Switzerland)
2017 Scope Basel, Basel Switzerland, 55 Bellechasse Gallery (Paris)
Art Pompelonne, St. Tropez, France, 55 Bellechasse Gallery (Paris)
Art Miami, Miami, Florida, 55 Bellechasse Gallery (Paris)
2015 The (un)Fair, New York, NY ,"Artspeak Incinerator" commission during Armory Week
2014 Scope Art Fair, Miami, FL, Mark Hachem Gallery (Paris),
Artgeneve Art Fair, Geneva, Switzerland, “Enduring Conundrum” Project ArtMonaco Art Fair, Monte Carlo, Monaco
Select Art Fair, Miami, Fl
My work comments on the imagery, motifs and language used by artists and art critics throughout art history. I use references from sources as varied as calligraphy, language and code, expressionism, the human figure, Asian landscape painting, and appropriated images from contemporary art and attempt to understand their place in the continuum of artistic expression.
The “Natural Abstractions” series is my homage to the 18th century Japanese master printmakers whose graphic style greatly influenced the European Impressionists. In this series I create contemporary interpretations of nature motifs used and repeated by many generations of artists. I use source photos taken from the natural world to create mixed media artworks that I finish with a unique gold foil process that I developed. Each work is executed in a positive and negative, in order to articulate the duality that is the basis of much of oriental culture.
In these recent works you can see my fascination with the natural world, captured up close and translated into autonomous compositional elements, which at times recall geometric abstraction, oriental calligraphy, and cellular processes. My unique technique recalls the Byzantine gilding practices, updated for the 21st century by combining them with photographic and digital processing technologies. In recreating this history, I attempt to create dynamic images that live in balance between figuration and abstraction.
The mixed media works and videos in my series, “Artspeak” comment on the coded language used in art journalism and critique and analyze how people react to this language. The mixed media works translate phrases taken from press releases of art exhibitions into Morse code, and the video “Enduring Conundrum” captures individuals from all walks of life repeating those phrases into their own words, revealing how they respond to contemporary art.
In the “It’s All Derivative” series I comment on the practice of appropriation and veneration in the art world by combining borrowed imagery from the past with the visual language of Morse code. The series originally came about as I was thinking about my influences - both in my art and in my life - and I started playing with images and artists who have influenced me the most. I began to realize that as much as we want to complement ourselves for all the “brilliant” work we’ve done in our lives, nothing we do is totally original - it’s all derivative on one level or another.
My works express a search for the motivation and meaning behind artistic expression. As an artist, unless you’ve grown up in a windowless room, it’s impossible not to have been influenced by all those who have come before you, and you need to pay homage to that.