Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added) is the best-kept secret
among contemporary American writers. --John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture Marly Youmans is a novelist and poet out of sync with the times
but in tune with the ages. --First Things

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Clive at Oriel Tefryn

Joseph Dreams of Home (Stravinsky's The Soldier's Tale)
Clive Hicks-Jenkins will soon have an opening at Oriel Tegfryn (Wales), and you can see images of the works in the solo show here. Little sub-groups of paintings deal with the Gawain and the Green Knight, the landscapes of The Mare's Tale, still-life-with-window-landscapes, saints, Shakespeare, Stravinsky's Soldier's Tale, and my upcoming novel, Glimmerglass (cover sketches and some interior art.)


  1. I do not mean this be an insulting question, so ignore it if I have been too blunt and inartful in my presentation, but I do not know how to ask this except to do it this way: Isn't there generally a difference between a book illustrator (commercial artist) and artist (serious artist)? How does an artist make the transition between the two worlds. I thought the dividing lines were rather impenetrable. (Background: I once entertained the idea of going to a school for commercial art [i.e., advertising art] right after high school, and I even was offered a scholarship, but I went instead to college with the idea of becoming a teacher [a future that my parents thought much more sensible], and I somewhat regret the diversion from my originally preferred path; however, I knew even then (at 17 years old) that commercial art was not "real" or "serious" art -- or so I was being told by all sorts of people.)

    1. Clive originally was in the theatre--ballet, set design, actor, director, etc. And even now he sometimes collaborates with a theatre project (as in the Stravinsky paintings or "The Mare's Tale" theatre piece.) He also has done some wondrous "artist's books" with the Old Stile Press (they even make their own paper a lot of the time.) I feel very lucky that he loves all the arts and wants to collaborate--that he has a special interest in books.

      If you look at the extent of an artist's work, I think there are often surprising things that are not the main current of the work and the things well known--Renoir the painter and son Renoir the director both made pottery, for example. Clive is one of those people (I have three friends like this) who can put a hand to any work and make it interesting.

      However, if you had seen his enormous 2010 retrospective at the National Library of Wales, you couldn't really say that he's not a maker of "high art." This show displays a playful side of him, I think, as he explores in many different directions. You might want to take a look at his large-scale paintings, even if on the small scale of a computer screen: here.


Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.