BYU art student turns 303 gallery walls into his own canvas

HFAC Gallery 303 presents works by Stephen Clawson entitled “This is Stephen Clawson”. (Allison McArthur)

Stephen Clawson, a graduate art student, filled the walls of a Harris Fine Arts Center gallery to invite visitors to participate in a performance of his artistic process.

His works filled all the walls of Gallery 303 from top to bottom. He even displayed supplies from his workshop to let visitors know what’s going on behind the pieces, including a box of Cheez-its and a dish of Bang energy drinks.

Clawson said he wanted to fill the space with as many coins as he could; he hoped to replicate his process of artistic creation in the way he set up his gallery.

“When I’m in the studio working, I just grab materials and put them on a canvas. It’s part of what I did in (the gallery) – I just brought a bunch of stuff and tried to press it on the walls, ”he said.

Just as Clawson flips through the pages and pages of magazines to find an image or text he wants to use in an article, he explained how gallery visitors want to choose their favorite parts.

“More than having a specific meaning, what I want is to put enough stuff in there that once people get close they say ‘Oh, that’s it.’ And make little connections that I didn’t really mean to make, ”Clawson said.

He said he liked the way the art allows viewers to create their own interpretations rather than having a specific meaning behind each piece.

Allison McArthur
A wall in HFAC Gallery 303 was decorated with works by Clawson. (Allison McArthur)

“It’s a bit of a bummer for my art teachers and the art world that I don’t have a deep meaning, but I want to do something fun to watch,” Clawson said. He enjoys the creative process and hearing what others discover by looking at his works.

Gallery Director Eric Edvalson said that as Gallery 303 is the largest individual space, he is impressed with how Clawson took a ‘maximalist approach’ with each room and how he filled the gallery with so many. rooms. “It takes a prolific amount of work to fill the space this way,” Edvalson said.

Although Clawson’s love and enthusiasm for art began in elementary school when he was making a diorama in his third grade class, he was introduced to the abstract style in high school and never stopped. to develop his art since.

He said the creative process begins with garage sales and collecting materials from magazines or what some might consider garbage. Clawson said he could put together a pizza box and a magazine from the 1940s to be side by side. After building the work by adding colors and text, the materials all come together and the juxtaposition disappears. He said he also liked to use texts because those who might not relate to abstract art can still cling to an idea and make an impression from the work.

Issac Galland, a visitor to the gallery, said that upon entering the gallery for the first time, he noticed all the colors. It was as if Galland could see what the artist had in mind, like pieces of thought spread out along each canvas, he said. He was amazed at the amount of work filling the gallery.

“I’m in awe of everything that is going on, with all the intricate details and designs,” said Galland.

Clawson has covered the walls of Gallery 303 as if it were his own canvas and still considers it a work in progress. The “This is Stephen Clawson” gallery exhibition ends October 22.

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Kayleen C. Rice