Dennis Clive was born in Niagara Falls, New York in 1950. He studied at the State University of New York at Brockport where he received his BS in 1972 and later at the University of Cincinnati, College of Design, Art and Architecture where he received his MFA in 1975. Clive first exhibited at Allan Stone Gallery in 1976, where he has been the subject of six solo shows and numerous group exhibitions. His work has been featured at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, the Detroit Institute of Art, the Berkeley Art Center, the Contemporary Arts Center of Cincinnati, and Rochester’s Memorial Art Gallery. Clive’s work has has been profiled in numerous publications including Artnews and The New Yorker, and was also the subject of a New York Times interview. The artist lives and works north of the San Francisco Bay, in Sebastapol, California.
Mixing Pop and Funk Art sensibility with European portrait miniature, for the past five decades Dennis Clive has fashioned ceramic works that explore the symbols of American culture. Inspired by a dream, Clive began experimenting with clay while taking an elective arts class in college. Using the plastic, elastic and malleable characteristics of the material, he began creating highly-detailed facsimiles of any and all types of vehicles – trucks, planes and automobiles – that satirize and celebrate the metal realities with bright-colors. Most recently he has focused on fighter-planes, creating replicas of stylish World War II mainstays like the American P-51, P-38 and Corsair, the British Spitfire, the German Messerschmitt and Stuka, and the Japanese Zero. Marvels at a distance, the true extent of Clive’s abilities are only visible close-up, when the scrutiny paid to details like undercarriages, windshield reflections, and the shapes of rivets, are most apparent. Some of the airplanes even have spinning propellers; but the realism need not overshadow the inherent fragility of the clay and Clive’s ambitious uses of it. With a style that pays homage to Robert Arneson and the California Funk Art, Clive has carved his own niche. His sculptures echo the childhood of the American baby-boomers, who grew up with build-it-yourself models, the fading memories of WWII, and the family automobile.