Denham B Clements

Artist Biography and Background

As a native Floridian with a Business degree from Florida State University, I never considered stretching my creative talents until later in life. My post-college choices, however, did much to educate me in the "art of living".

Serving as a combat commander in the US Marines (Vietnam 1968-69) and thereafter being released from active/inactive duty as a Captain, I then opted for some post-war "cleansing" and pursued global travel...South America, Europe, the Mideast (where, in Tel-Aviv, Israel, I lied my way into a chef's position at a French/Italian seafood restaurant...menus in Fr/Ital/Hebrew) and Asia. After many thousands of miles logged on sailboats (in the Bahamas, the Caribbean and a trans-Atlantic crossing with a friend on a 30' sloop), I sought a change of scenery in order to address an intensifying desire to the mid-1970's I packed my seabag and moved to Taos, New Mexico.

After several years of thought, toil, and experimentation, the black and white (acrylic) images began to "come together" on canvas. Although quite diverse in my choice of subject matter, I was known mostly in the Southwest US for my photorealistic paintings of the human face. In my 10 plus years in Taos, I developed a significant chronicle of portraits of the "viejos".....the "old ones". These good people, the old cowpoke, the Pueblo Indian, the local Hispanic icon, the wily backwoodsman, were nonetheless just ordinary people; but when rendered with such unflinching realism, their personalities, their life's experiences seemed stamped on each face as if time had stopped for an instant, frozen. Their personal histories became subtly transparent and prompted a dialogue with the viewer, an uncharacteristic trait known to classic photorealism.

When I moved my family to Albuquerque I was very protective of my "style" of painting (dry brushing white onto black); but as I tried to "grow" in to other areas I realized that I was wasting a lot of time figuring things out on my own. So after taking a few art classes to fill in the technical voids I moved on to color, and then to oil paint. As I did this and as I allowed myself to embrace the fluidity that came from blending oil colors, my subject matter changed as did the size of the canvas. The canvas size in the black and white and the color "portrait" era ranged from 32" x 40" up to 40" x 50". As I transitioned to oil paint, enlarged florals and reflective (glass) surfaces proved to be an exciting springboard for transformation.....and the size of the work went through a revolution as well....from 72" x 76" up to the largest work at 5ft x 10ft.

Along with that revolution in style and size, came an evolution in my creative direction. On the 23rd of November of 2011.....after 42 years of sorting through the personal memories, as well as reflecting on the impact that a polarized America in the Sixties had on the outcome of the Vietnam War,  I took the road less traveled once again and began a major mixed media piece that would become a narrative on canvas that provided a general sense of the mood and the realities of the Vietnam War era, as well as take a look at the attitude and events that typified the happenings back in "the world".  As I began my research it soon became apparent that this was going to be a complex undertaking and was going to be a lot more than a guy in a foxhole kind of painting. It is dedicated, specifically, to all combat Marines of that era, but also memorializes the veterans of all services, and their families, who sacrificed so much in the service of a country that was not all together in support of their mission. "Vietnam Elegy" was completed on 20 February 2014....Please visit for an in-depth look at the project, the process, and its future.
born 1944 Miami Beach, Florida, USA
New Mexico
Known for
Portrait, Botanical, Western, Epic mixed media painting titled "Vietnam Elegy"
Florida State University, BS in Business Administration; Major: Advertising & Public Relations...1962-66
Self-taught (career began in 1975 in Taos, NM.)
University of New Mexico, 1986...Oil painting, Art Theory, Modern Art History, Drawing
1997, Art in the Ambassador's Residence, US State Dept (color), Exhibition Catalog
1992, New Art of the West, Eiteljorg Museum of Indian & Wester Art (color), Exhibition Catalog
1990, Art of Albuquerque, Albuquerque Museum (color), Exhibition Catalog
1980, Here & Now: 35 Artists in New Mexico, Albuquerque Museum (color), Exhibition Catalog
1979, Reflections of Realism, Albuquerque Museum (color), Exhibition Catalog
Exhibition Record (Museums, Institutions and Awards):
1979, Albuquerque Museum, "Reflections of Realism"
1980, Arvada (CO) Center for the Arts & Humanities, "Cowboys & Indians"
1980, Albuquerque Museum, "Here & Now: 35 ARTISTS IN NEW MEXICO"
1981, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, "Eight from New Mexico"
1986, The Museum, Texas Tech University, "Neighbors"
1990, Albuquerque Museum, "Art of Albuquerque"
1992, Eiteljorg Museum of Indian & Western Art, "NEW ART OF THE WEST"
1992, Albuquerque Museum, "Common Ground" (from the Permanent Collection)
1996, US State Dept., Art in Embassy Program, Ambassador's Residence, Lima, Peru
1997, Museum of the Horse (Ruidoso, NM), Fall America Art Show,
1998, Hubbard Museum (Ruidoso, NM), "Free Spirit Juried Art Show", Best of Show Award
1999, Farmington (NM) Museum, "Gateway National Juried Show"
2002, The Old West Museum (Cheyenne, Wyo), "Western Spirit Art Show"
2005, International Museum of Art (El Paso, TX), "38th International Exhibition"
2008, Tucson Museum of Art, "Art of the American West" (Permanent Collection)
2014 VA's Creative Arts Festival, Albuquerque, NM (Best of Show/1st Place Military Combat Experience Category)
Exhibition Record (Galleries and Art Shows):
1981, BFM Gallery, NYC,
1981, S. Rudy Gallery, Houston, TX
1981, PM & Stein Gallery, NYC, Solo Exhibition
1982, Taos Arts Festival, NM
1982, Santa Fe Festival of the Arts, NM
1983, Gallery 10, Aspen, CO, 3-man Show
1983, Lubbock Arts Festival, TX
1984, Stable Gallery, Taos, NM
1985, Joann Lyon Gallery, Aspen, CO
1985, Taos Arts Festival, NM
1986, Morgan Gallery, Taos, NM
1987, Taos Spring Arts Festival
1988, Morgan Gallery, Taos, NM
1989, Santa Fe Spring Festival of the Arts, NM
1991, Magnifico!, Albuquerque Festival of the Arts
1993, Morgan Gallery, Taos, NM
1994, Buffalo Gallery, Tysons Corner, VA
1996, Art in Embassies Program, US State Dept, Lima, Peru
1997, Magnifico! Albuquerque Festival of the Arts, NM
1998, Contemporary Southwest Galleries, Santa Fe, NM
2000, Eastern New Mexico University, Portales, NM
2001, The Art Center at Fuller Lodge, Los Alamos, NM
2001, Civic Center, City of Moriarity (NM), Art in Public Places Purchase
2002, Coconut Grove Arts Festival, FL
2003, Caesarea Gallery at Gallery Center, Boca Raton, FL, Solo Exhibition
2004, Caesarea Gallery at Gallery Center
2004, Karen Lynne Gallery, Beverly Hills, CA
Albuquerque Museum, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Tucson Museum of Art, Tucson, Arizona
Who's Who in America....2013, 2014
Magazine and Media References
1980, ARTSPACE, "Peculiar to the West"
1981, ARTLINES, "Denham Clements: Photorealism with Soul
1981, SAN FRANCISCO TRIBUNE, "Eight from New Mexico"
1981, NEW YORK GUIDE, "Living Portraits at PM & Stein Gallery"
1981, ARTSPEAK, Fantastic Performances...Photoreailst"
1983, THE TAOS NEWS, "More Alive Now"
1984, NEWSWEEK, "The Heroes Live On"
1995, ALBUQUERQUE JOURNAL, "Cultures in Collision"
Artist Statement
Through meticulous adherence to detail, I am trying to re-evaluate things, and though it might appear that I am devaluing the traditions of art and the function of the artist by doing so, I am, rather, re-emphasizing these traditions on the basis of my position as a photorealist.

Historically, photorealism, as a medium of expression, appeared as an unique challenge for me once I was able to establish a few painterly qualities. I was intrigued by the thought of visualizing three dimensions on a two-dimensional plane. Initially by using duo tones, then later on full color, and placing the imagery either crisply in or hazily out of focus, I was able to create for the viewer a depth of field in one glance that their eye could not, thereby enabling the subtle illusions of the trompe-l'oeil technique.

Hyper-realistic paintings of people, objects or places, and their resulting verisimilitude, may hopefully reawaken the public to the fascinating, albeit dormant, pleasures of observation rather than solely insist on symbolic meaning or abstract commentary. The visual dynamics of larger-than-life images rendered in unwavering detail can create meanings that are more felt than understood. In the end, the interpretation of my work is at the option of the viewer who must accept a renewed and clarified perception of reality.
Denham B Clements
7618 Winter Ave NE
Albuquerque, NM  87110
Phone: 505-453-8908
Photo Realist, Contemporary, Mixed Media
Oil, Acrylic, Mixed Media
Price Information
Giclees: $225 to $400; $4000 to $10,000 for large acrylics and large oils