Although Cudra Clover has worked in many artistic mediums, painting on silk is her great and ever-deepening passion.
Clover’s exploration of silk is being hailed for breathing new life into an ancient art form. Silk art is most often associated with serene landscapes and fixed, immutable subjects. Clover’s unique and dramatic re-interpretation flows from a more modernist worldview. “I see change as the norm, not the exception, and chaos as something to be celebrated, not feared,” Clover says. “Chaos is the natural rhythm of the universe.”
Clover’s paintings capture the ephemeral worlds and mini-universes that have swirled in her mind’s eye since childhood. Here, the possible collides with the impossible, the massive meets the microscopic, and the living intertwines with the inanimate, in a stunning choreography of the imagination.
“I’m increasingly drawn to painting living things. I see beauty in all life forms, including organisms too small to be viewed with the naked eye.” One recent piece features volvox, advanced algae that exist as both individuals and members of complex, spherical communities. “Volvox literally dance with each other,” Clover says. As in other recent works, Clover portrays these organisms in lush, intricate ecosystems she calls “terrarium imaginariums.” “All life is precious,” Clover insists. “I want to draw attention to the wonders of our planet, both seen and unseen, and the urgent need to protect all its creatures.”
Committing her vision to canvass is no simple feat. Painting on silk is uniquely challenging. The medium is unforgiving and the artist is confronted with seemingly insurmountable obstacles. “Silk painting requires an entirely different thought process from many other forms of painting,” Clover says. “Once you put something down on silk, it’s there; you must commit to it.”
Many silk artists plan their pieces completely before painting a single stroke. But Clover chooses the opposite course. “I prefer the unexpected. I find that having to weave different layers and levels after the fact is actually one of the medium’s great strengths. To me, silk is an intuitive, symbiotic process. I don’t exert complete control; the art and I take turns calling the shots.” This conversation goes on as the work progresses. “I find that if I ‘listen’ carefully, each piece rewards me with insights into the art form and even lessons about life.”
Clover enjoys working in large format and accepts custom commissions. Her pieces are also available in signed, limited-edition giclees of various sizes, printed on luxurious sugarcane paper and traditional canvass. Her work is available in a range of imaginative framing options, from the weathered, twisted steel that characterized her Silk and Steel collection, to bamboo, driftwood, chains, and most recently, exotic hardwoods. Simple stretching of the pieces is another option. For those who wish to share their art with our aquatic neighbors, highly collectible surfboards can be ordered as custom commissions.
Silk remains nature’s most majestic canvass. It seduces artists with its promise and rewards collectors with its riches. Cudra Clover invites you to join her in surrendering to silk’s charms and experiencing its many wonders.
Cudra Clover paints in communion with nature, in her jungle studio on the island of Maui