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“In many ways, the only thing we have in this world that is completely ours is our own personal experience with and perception of the moment, right now. We can’t find anything else that hasn’t been experienced before… All we really have is our own ability to see life flowing in front of our eyes in the unique way that we personally do… And this, to me, is the beauty of photography.”
Born in Birmingham, Alabama, Nik Clements first came to Bucks County as a young teenager. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and went on to pursue a Masters degree at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. From an early age, Clements manifested a desire to “own,” see, and experience the world in a way that no one else ever had. Photography provides him with the ideal outlet to do just that, exploring the uniqueness of his personal vision.
One of Clements’ goals as a photographer is to blur the distinction between film and digital photography, creating photographs that defy easy categorization. Much of his work centers on windows, buildings, and other edifices. For instance, in a series entitled Issues, several images featuring windows are intended to serve as metaphors for human beings and their “myriad issues.” Clements' work is also distinguished by a meticulous attention to detail and by what the artist dubs a “linguistically-based approach," as opposed to a medium-based approach. Clements finds it difficult and not constructive to articulate exactly why a given subject matter appeals to him, preferring to let the viewer experience what is being presented in the photograph on his own terms, without being told what to feel or how to react.
Clements has exhibited throughout the United States, including at the Biggs Museum of American Art in Dover, Delaware, and locally at the Phillips’ Mill Community Association in New Hope, Pennsylvania.
Nik Clements (b. 1974), self-portrait. Image courtesy of the artist.
Education and Training
B.F.A. in Theater Arts, University of the Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2006
M.F.A. in Fine Art Photography, Academy of Art University, San Francisco, California, 2009
Influences and Teachers
Clements is fascinated by the work of Lee Friedlander, whom he admires for his use of black and white, his seamless synthesis of the formal relationships within a given image, and his ability to create “living, breathing photographs.” Clements also claims inspiration from Stephen Shore. Like Clements, Shore often photographs buildings and has a knack for transforming a seemingly ordinary architectural structure into an aesthetically interesting and pleasing story. Finally, Clements' artistic production has been influenced by Emmet Gowin, whose ever-evolving vision and subject matter inspires Clements to likewise grow and change as an artist.
Connection to Bucks County
Clements has been a resident of Bucks County and its environs since 1987. He attended the Newtown Friends School, a Quaker grade school in Newtown, PA, from 1987 to 1989 and the George School, a Quaker boarding school, also located in Newtown, from 1989 to 1993.
Artistic Community and Colleagues
Emmet Gowin and David Graham
Affiliations, Memberships, Schools
Phillips' Mill Community Association
Best of College Photography 2009, Santa Barbara, Photographer's Forum, 2009
Best of Photography 2009, Santa Barbara, Photographer's Forum, 2009
Still Point Gallery, Artist of Distinction, 2009
Finalist, 29th Annual Spring Photography Contest, 2009
Finalist, 29th Annual College Photography Contest, 2009
Special Recognition Award, Upstream People Gallery, Issues Project, 2009
Special Recognition Award, Upstream People Gallery, Me Project, 2009
Honorable Mention, International Photographer of the Year, 2008
2nd Place, Portfolio, Academy of Art University, Spring Show, 2008
University of the Arts’ Promising Young Artist Award, 2000
Major Exhibitions, Collections, & Publications
Gallery Print, Hudson, WI, 2009, 2010
Still Point Gallery, Brunswick, ME, 2010
Biggs Shot 2009 Exhibition, Biggs Museum of American Art, Dover, DE, 2009
Images Exhibition, Central PA Festival of the Arts, State College, PA, 2007, 2009
Mind’s Eye Exhibition, The Center of Fine Art Photography, Fort Collins, CO, 2009
4th Annual Photo Competition, Morpho Gallery, Chicago, IL, 2009
Photographic Exhibition, Phillips’ Mill Community Association, New Hope, PA, 2009
Still Point I Exhibition, Still Point Gallery, Brunswick, ME, 2009
11th Annual Faces Art Exhibition, Upstream People Gallery, Omaha, NE, 2009
8th Annual Summer All Media International Exhibition, Upstream People Gallery, Omaha, NE, 2009
Projekt30 Gallery, New York, NY, February 2009
Walton Center Gallery, Newtown, PA, 2008
Macro World Exhibition, The Center of Fine Art Photography, Fort Collins, 2008
Spring Show, Academy of Art University, San Francisco, CA, 2007, 2008
International Student Show, The Center of Fine Art Photography, Fort Collins, CO, 2007