Samuel Morse Museum Exhibition

"Reflections in Morse", May - June 2017




 Opening Reception 

Wednesday May 3, 2017  from 6-8PM 

Samuel Morse Museum

2683 South Rd, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

Tel (845) 454-4500

Poughkeepsie, N.Y., 27 April 2017     The Samuel Morse Museum is pleased to present "Reflections in Morse”, selected mixed media artworks by New York artist Bill Claps.  The show encompasses works from two of the artist’s series, “It’s all Derivative” and “Artspeak”, both of which utilize Morse code to communicate various ideas. The exhibition will run through June 25 and will be open Monday thru Sunday from 10:00AM to 5:00PM.

 Claps’ work reflects an ongoing dialogue with art history, commenting on the imagery, motifs and language used by artists and art critics. Claps first began using Morse code five years ago with his “It’s All Derivative” series, which comments on the creative process throughout art history, as he was drawn to the retro quality of a technology that was the first code of the digital era. “I was looking for a device to add narration and a level of mystery to my works without being overly literal —says the artist - and I wanted to add coded messages that forced the viewer to enter further into the work. I love the simple, clean elements of Morse, which you can distort and abstract in interesting ways”.

In the “It’s All Derivative” series Claps comments 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.”

In the “Artspeak” series Morse code is used a metaphor for the convoluted language of the art world. The series investigates the use of language in contemporary art journalism and critique, analyzing the reaction of people when confronted with this language.  It clearly confirms that words are never quite sufficient to describe a visual artwork and that the language of the art world is often used to deceive as much as illuminate.  In his exquisite artworks Claps literally translates this language into Morse code, creating works of art that delight and challenge the viewer. By gilding the works with gold foil he underscores the importance of description and context in conceptual art.

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, NJ, 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 NY 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 (NY), Aspen Fine Arts Gallery (Aspen, Colorado), Bendheim Gallery (Greenwich, Ct), Kismet Gallery (Westport, Ct), 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. Claps’ works are in private collections and foundations in the United States and Europe. He writes for and Exibart Magazine.