This week for Studio Sunday we’re looking at the work space of Vija Clemins. Clemins was born in Riga, Latvia, in 1938 but was relocated to the United States as a refugee at the age of 10, following the events of World War II. As an artist, Clemins has experimented with many mediums and techniques but is perhaps best known for her monochromatic drawings that mimic natural textures.
Clemins’ studio looks fantastically bright and airy – it reminds me of the studio spaces of Agnes Martin or even Georgia O’Keefe. Clemins herself is visible in the photo, hard at work on a drawing or painting affixed to her easel. The smaller scale of the artist’s current work seems to facilitate a clean, neat studio, as it would be easy to keep the works more or less contained to the easel or a desk. I can imagine that the studio might have been a bit more hectic when Clemins was working in paint or sculpture.
I’m curious about the small white table in the foreground of this photo – it appears that there’s a piece of paper on it, perhaps a sketch. It’s interesting to imagine the artist moving from this table to an easel after creating a plan for a piece.
I also really love the cabinet on the wall behind Clemins, and the plants that she has in the corner – that bit of green really adds a sense of freshness to the whole space and makes it less antiseptic and more welcoming.
Clemins has had her works shown in over 40 solo exhibitions around the world. She’s currently based in New York, where she still creates works at the age of 79. The artist’s drawings are known for walking the line between photorealism and abstraction, presenting real objects and things found in nature from an unexpected or close-up viewpoint.