Meet Three Wheeling Artists Featured at Clientele Art Studio's 'Timeless Muses'
Clientele is showing their 'Timeless Muses' show during the month of May. Eighteen artists re-imagined classical art pieces in their own style. Meet three artists and see their four pieces.
When you consider what the ‘art’ means many would conjure images of classic pieces, maybe Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night or Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa or Johannes Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring. While these pieces continue to be revered and considered beyond reproach, Clientele Art Studio at 43–15th St in Wheeling gave artists an opportunity to give the classics a modern twist at the grand opening of their latest show, Timeless Muses, on May 6. Pieces were shown with QR codes linking to the originals, allowing attendees to compare tradition with their contemporary counterparts.
A crowd of around forty people filled Clientele for the show reveal giving people a chance to meet the artists featured. The art on display shows a range of styles and techniques from fiber arts to woodworking to paintings and dioramas. While the venue is tight—literally and figuratively—that didn’t stop staff from packing in as much art as possible. Nineteen artists from around the Ohio Valley are being featured, with twenty-eight pieces lining the walls. Most of the art is for sale—unless otherwise noted—and the show will remain until May 28th.
Cait Carney, creative director at Clientele, came up with the idea of Timeless Muses. Cait’s favorite piece of art in her home is a piece by her sister, Amanda Carney, which combines Andrew Wyeth’s Christina’s World with Gustave Courbet’s L’Origine du monde. “I wanted to see how other local artists could transform classic pieces of art,” Cait said. Cait mentioned that many artists begin creating after seeing a traditional piece. “It was really fun seeing everyone’s unique take,” Cait said of the show.
Amanda Carney, owner of Cat’s Paw Art Studio in Wheeling, has two pieces on display–a gouache medium painting and a Kid Pix piece. You can find her work on Instagram, for sale on her website, and around Wheeling at the Nelson Jordan Center and Heritage Trail. Her brick and mortar studio offers matting and framing services.
Speaking first about her piece titled Vanitas, Amanda explained the history of the style of art she referenced. From the 1500s to 1700s, a wave of paintings known as vanitas depicted material items from everyday life as well as a skull and candle—often extinguished—to remind viewers of their mortality. When viewing a traditional vanitas, a person is meant to reflect on the transience of life and be reminded of the futility of pleasure-seeking.
In Vanitas, Amanda puts a twist on the original with bright colors and a still-lit candle inviting the viewer to embrace pleasure. Amanda depicts items that represent her life including a box of crayons, candy, makeup, sex-related items, and knives. Describing her painting, Amanda said, “This is a person's life, but it’s not so down,” contrasting the original purpose of vanitas. “There’s still life to be had here,” Amanda said. “Death is at the top of everything, but it’s okay to enjoy the vanity.”
Amanda Carney’s second piece is a rendition of Vincent van Gogh’s Skull of a Skeleton with Burning Cigarette—a painting that has become iconic, almost as a meme image, but is not widely known to be a van Gogh. Amanda says she is drawn to death imagery likely because she experienced a lot of loss and death at a young age. “People think I am a bright person—and I am—but I have a bit of darkness too. This is a way to express that,” Amanda said.
Immediately recognizable from her interpretation of van Gogh’s original is the pixelated nature of the piece. This is because the medium she used is Kid Pix—a drawing program designed for kids that was published in 1991. Amanda began using Kid Pix during the pandemic as an outlet after taking a hiatus from painting and moving studios. The software, known as abandonware after its publishing rights ceased meaning it can be used without fear of copyright, is “unadulterated play. It’s a game where the winning condition is to make art,” Amanda said. She started streaming the game as a way to share the medium saying, “there’s something silly about recreating a piece in a program made for seven-year-olds.”
Dakota Lish would describe herself as more of a hobby artist, but that doesn’t mean her art is any less professional. Lish says she is more interested in textual arts, standing out in the show as one of the only pieces like it. Her piece, The Forager’s Basket, is a woven basket made from hemp cotton, and contains crocheted flowers. Despite only learning how to crochet a month before the show, her flowers are incredibly detailed and are well-crafted. The piece is in honor of Native Americans.
Lish did research about the types of baskets Native American people in Appalachia would have made. She said the basket could have been used to carry things like mushrooms, herbs, and other crops, or simply to decorate one’s home. “One of the first forms of art creation was this medium,” Lish said of the woven basket. “It’s a tool to help with everyday life.” Asked why she chose to honor Native Americans for the show she said, “I thought the baskets were interesting! It fit the theme of the show being before the 1800s.”
When asked how she felt to be featured at Clientele’s Timeless Muses show, Lish said it felt awesome to be a part of a community that sought to include everyone no matter the skill-level or preferred style. “At Clientele shows you see tons of different mediums,” Lish said. “It’s cool to express all sides of my style.” “Wheeling has a great art community,” Lish said, adding about Clientele, “everyone gets a chance here.”
Mindi Yarbrough, owner of Wild Heart Arts, says she has shown an aptitude for the arts since she was three or four—calling her family folk arts and crafts people. Yarbrough has considered herself a professional artist since her first solo art show in Columbus in the early 2000s. Her art can now be seen on her website, Instagram, and around the City of Wheeling with murals on Heritage Trail, in Center Market, and at the Grandview Pool.
Yarbrough’s piece, Monsieur du havre de houx, is a depiction of a nude male—something she noted was unique at the show. “It’s normal to see women’s bodies objectified, used as marketing, and dehumanized,” Yarbrough said. This is known as the male gaze—or media depicting women from a masculine point-of-view—something familiar in traditional and contemporary art alike. She describes her process of making art as exploring emotions and ideas to make sense of the world. “I start with a question and the art is an explanation of the journey,” Yarbrough said. “I asked myself if there was a female gaze and, if so, what does that mean?”
“We should normalize male beauty,” Yarbrough said. “There are so many female nudes and nothing is said, but when I posted my piece I got a lot of pushback.” In fact, the original painting Yarbrough was inspired by, Pablo Picasso's Les Demoiselles D’Avignon, received pushback from the art world with the depiction of five women in full frontal nudity. Yarbrough put her own twist on the original painting one subject rather than multiple, but still kept with the Cubist style of Picasso. “Mine is more sensual rather than erotic,” Yarbrough said of her piece compared to Picasso. “I look forward to making more male nudes.”
A word from your author, Justice. It is my opinion that this may be the best show Clientele Art Studio has offered. As a student of history, art has defined how I view the past. Through my studies and my own interest I have viewed many classical art pieces. While these pieces are reverent in the minds of many, seeing them redone in a modern, local style is almost indescribable. It filled me with wonder, with joy, and with pride in my home of West Virginia for putting on such an amazing show. I cannot recommend highly enough Clientele Art Studio, especially Timeless Muses.
If you would like to experience Timeless Muses for yourself head down to Clientele Art Studio at 43–15th St in Wheeling, West Virginia, before May 28th. Check them out on Instagram and Facebook to stay up-to-date on their events. On Friday, May 19, they are hosting their monthly trivia night with the wonderful Kellie Ahmad hosting. On Saturday, May 27–the night before the show closes–Clientele will host ‘Art Prom,’ a unique event to complement Timeless Muses, where guests are asked to re-imagine classic art in costume. Get your tickets today.
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