Thursday, May 19, 2011

René Clement portrays the heritage of Orange City, Iowa in a book and exhibition

Above: Cassie (Huizenga) Baker dressed in costume and wrapped in the American flag as the Orange City Tulip Festival Queen, 2006. Photograph © René Clement, used with permission. In the upper right, René is shown speaking about his project in Dordt’s gallery during the show reception (photograph courtesy of Jordan Edens). The Promising Land exhibition is on display this summer at Dordt College, Sioux Center, Iowa (installation view). The exhibition, which initially coincided with the Orange City Tulip Festival, has been partially funded by a grant from the Netherlands Consulate General in New York.

Promising Land is a book by award-winning photographer René Clement picturing residents of Orange City dressed in old-world Dutch costumes, shown in a variety of situations from satirical to traditional studio portraits. René says: “I started [the project] with portraits. I was fascinated with how beautiful their clothes were.” In addition, Clement’s portraits reflect the influence of the seventeenth century Dutch Master, Jan Vermeer (reference Girl with the Pearl Earring). The black background and chiaroscuro effect of each portrait is reminiscent of the Italian artist Caravaggio whose style influenced many artists associated with the so-called Golden Age of Dutch art in the 1600s. An interesting side bar note is that Clement’s photographic images perhaps correlates with Vermeer’s supposed interest in camera obscura.

An exhibit of 37 of his photographs will be at the Dordt College Campus Center Art Gallery in Sioux Center May 12-July 24. The gallery is open 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Sioux City Journal did a very nice feature article about René, his book project, and mentions the show at Dordt.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the editor has approved them.