In the Beginning was Black
April 19 through July 12, 2014
Following a catastrophic year of upheaval and personal loss, Bay Area artist Clifford Rainey mounts a solo exhibition of sculptural work made predominantly of black glass. Although the work often features popular and classical iconography, Rainey admits that all of his work is somewhat autobiographical. Rainey’s culturally iconic Coca-Cola bottles and Greco-Roman statuary also describe a personal experience as he explores his connection to current social and political situations.
The impetus for In the Beginning was Black was a sense of loss. From this locus, Rainey draws on colonial literature, ethnicity, globalization and genomic research. These larger, geo-political concerns about culture and identity become ways to understand oneself. “When you are dealing with a lot of cultures," Rainey explains, "I think what you’re trying to do is understand yourself."
Clifford Rainey was born in Northern Ireland and received his MA from the Royal College of Art in London, where he served as lecturer from 1977 until 1984. Currently, Rainey is the Chair of the Glass Program at the California College of the Arts in Oakland. Rainey’s work is exhibited in numerous public collections, including the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Corning Museum of Glass in New York, the de Young Museum in San Francisco, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Image above: Clifford Rainey, Things Fall Apart. Sore Head – No. 2, 2013 Glass, wood, gesso and flashlight, 31 x 28 x 18 inches. Photo: M. Endo.