Above Left: Clyde Connell, “Untitled”, 1991. Cast paper with mixed media. Morris Museum of Art, Augusta, Georgia. Right: Composite image of Clyde Connell thumbnails for education use.
Clyde Conell was a Louisiana sculptor and painter. The work in the Morris Museum of Art's collection is constructed out of three figures, each made of paper mache embedded with found objects.
Above: Composite image of Clementine Hunter thumbnails for education use.
Ms. Connell was mostly self taught. That means she taught herself, as opposed to studying art in schools. Lots of artists are self taught-- in fact, Clementine Hunter is another Louisiana artist that was self taught that we love at the Morris Museum of Art!
Above: Composite image of Clyde Connell and sculptures for education use.
To better understand Clyde Connell's sculptures it helps for us to know what types of things Clyde wanted us to see in them. Certainly there is the balance of shapes, the rust and the dirt, and unusual found materials, but most importantly it was something new she hoped people would see in her art! She loved to visit New York City to see the newest art. Her trips to see art in galleries and museums inspired her to create in search of something new.
In addition to the inspiration Connell would find in seeing contemporary art, she would look to the materials that were all around her for her artwork. For this piece, she made art using dirt, old railroad spikes, and bicycle chains.
Above: Composite image of anonyomous paper mache crafts for education use.
The rest of the sculpture is paper mache, which is a technique that roughly translates to "chewed paper" in French. Any material, made from paper pulp or shreds of paper mixed with glue is considered paper mache. People having been making paper mache for hundreds of years for masks, bowls, toys, and all kinds of other things.
For our version we will need all of the above and about 40 minutes. Recomended for kids age 6 and up.
We made a line drawing based on one of the figures in Clyde Connell's sculpture. Here's what one of the sides of our tripod sculpture looks like on its own. Click on the image above to download or visit here.
Print out three copies of this guy. TIP: Heavier paper like cardstock works best.
After you've cut out your three figures use a paint brush and any dirt or soil nearby to "color" your figures.
You might be suprised how much color is just in the dirt under your feet!
After drying, glue or tape the flaps to connect the three figures.
Here's a picture of our example all done. Do you think it looks like the original sculpture by Clyde Connell?
TIP: Bend the feet down to provide more stability and adjust for height.
EXTEND YOUR LEARNING:
Here's a video from the TV program Antiques Road Show featuring an early painting by Clyde Conell [ click here ]
There's also an interview with Ms. Connell here that covers much of her life as an artist.
[ click here ]
You can also take inspration from exhbitions of art. Lots of museums share pictures on works of art currently on view. Try searching for an art museum or gallery in your favorite city or someone where you've always wanted to go. Clyde Connell made trips to many of New York's most important museums, like the Metropolitian Museum of Art. Here is a link to the current exhbitions on display at "the Met."