Biography, CV & Artist Statement
Bill Claps lives and works in New York City. He is a visual artist, filmmaker and writer whose work comments on art history and language. 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 and drawings have been presented in solo and group exhibitions in galleries and institutions of the United States and Europe. In the United States: Salomon Arts Gallery (New York), Priska C. Juschka Fine Art (New York), Henry Gregg Gallery (New York), Rush Arts Gallery (New York), Aspen Fine Arts Gallery (Aspen, Colorado), Bendheim Gallery (Greenwich, Connecticut), Kismet Gallery (Westport, Connecticut), Exhibit Gallery (Tulsa, OK), and International Club (Wellington, FL). In Europe: la Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica di Palazzo Corsini in Rome; Artgeneve, Geneva; Art Monaco; Evartspace, Geneva; Spazio Garibaldi 77, Milano, Gallery@1, Gstaad, Switzerland, Galerie 55 Bellechasse, Paris, R Gallery, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Claps’ works are in private collections and foundations in the United States and Europe. He writes for Artspace.com and Exibart Magazine.
2018 “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 ExchangeGallery, New York, N.Y.
2005 Solo Show, Westport Arts Center, Westport, CT.
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS
2018 “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
Scope Basel, Basel Switzerland
Art Pompelonne, St. Tropez, France
Art Miami, Miami, Florida
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
"Made in LIC", Edison Price Gallery, Long Island City, NY
2014 Scope Art Fair, Mark Hachem Gallery (Paris), Miami, FL
Artgeneve Art Fair, Geneva, Switzerland
ArtMonaco Art Fair, Monte Carlo, Monaco
Select Art Fair, Miami, FL
“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.
“Déjà Vu”, NOoSphere Gallery, 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.
“10 x 10”, Reis Gallery, Long Island City, N.Y.
2011 “Curate NYC”, Rush Arts Gallery, New York, N.Y.
2010 “Concerto of Illumination”, M55 Gallery, Long Island City, N.Y.
2009 “Group Exhibition”, Priska C. Juschka Fine Art, New York, N.Y.
2008 “Vibrance”, Henry Gregg Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
“Exhibition 19”, 14th Street Gallery, New York, N.Y.
2007 “Exhibition 18”, 14th Street Gallery, New York, N.Y.
“Group Exhibition”, Canco Gallery, Jersey City, N.J.
2006 “Oil and Water”, City Lights Gallery, Bridgeport, CT
”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.
“Works on Paper”, Spring Street Studio, New York, N.Y.
“Small Works”, Washington Square East Galleries, New York, N.Y.
2003 “Singular Expressions”, D. D. & B. Gallery, Brooklyn, N.Y.
“Small Works”, Washington Square East Galleries, New York, N.Y.
2002 “Works on Paper”, Spring Street Studio, New York, N.Y.
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.