Charles Clary uses about 1,200 X-acto blades a year to create intricate, layered worlds using paper and found wallpaper. Born in Morristown, Tennessee, and based in Conway, South Carolina, he received his MFA in Painting from the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2009, and his BFA from Middle Tennessee State University in 2004. In 2016, he won top honors at ArtFields, an art competition for artists in the South, for his installation Please Rewind, which featured a wall display of VHS cassette boxes whose carved-out designs suggest inner worlds and other dimensions [Disclosure: BURNAWAY editor Stephanie Cash was one of the five judges]. The piece was made in the wake of the deaths of both his mother and father, two weeks apart, to smoking-related cancers. His observation that “cancer is a disease that is a perfectly structured killer; it is beautiful in its architecture but grotesque in its eventuality” seems to resonate in many of his works, especially those using horror movie VHS boxes.
His recent sculptures suggest computer generated sound waves, petri dishes, bacterial and viral colonies, and fungal and mold growths, as well as the structural similarites they share.
Check out the cool video of Clary’s working process at the bottom of the page!