I see my work as both a critique and a celebration of modern culture. My work deals with the theme of vanitas, which is a 17th century Dutch genre of painting that uses symbols of transience and impending death to warn against earthly vanity and pleasure. I see my paintings as curiosity cabinets of pop culture and girlhood, and I focus on brevity of life as a symbol of childhood. I don’t want to warn anyone against earthly pleasures in exchange for piety, I see it more as a true reflection of what it means to be an artist. The trivial pursuits of man become the plight of the artist as they strive to make a name for themselves. Just like everyone is constantly trying to relive their childhood, I am attempting to collapse my past into my future. I modernize 17th-century icons using plastic butterfly clips instead of real butterflies and a piggy bank skull instead of a real one. Glass objects that symbolized an artist’s ability to capture light have transformed into glittering bongs in my paintings. This new set of symbolism combines references from childhood with pop culture references. Through this process, I am collapsing and reclaiming these histories so they exist simultaneously although briefly, providing viewers with a different set of pop-imagery that is centered around girlhood and the power that can come from that. Displaying my female identity through investigative collections, I reveal and critique the notions and expectations that gender biases have perpetuated throughout history. Serving my audience with researched concepts and ideas on a hot pink platter, I deal with the theme of validity through violent femininity. I see my work as an expression of a justified autonomy, it’s an illustration of coming of age with the notion of agency.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Veronica Clements received her BFA in Painting and Art History from University of Illinois Urbana Champaign in 2018, where she received the Shipley Award for Most Outstanding Graduating Senior. After spending five years as the Painting & Videography teacher at Elgin Academy, Clements is now pursuing her MS in Leadership for Creative Enterprises from Northwestern University and will graduate in December 2023. Clements is the President of the Young Women’s Caucus for Art and the social media manager, board member, and a curator for the Chicago Women’s Caucus for Art. Currently, Clements works as a Programming & Curatorial Intern at Woman Made Gallery. Clements recently curated an exhibition at AIR Gallery in Glencoe titled Hot Pink Platter and a virtual exhibition for Woman Made Gallery titled Tickled Pink. Veronica’s upcoming solo show, Pinky Promise opens at the Evanston Art Center on August 6th.