May 12 through September 23
On June 5, 2012, the planet Venus will move between the Earth and the Sun, visible to the human eye as a small black dot crossing the solar disk. This “Venus transit” is a rare astronomical phenomenon: the next will occur in 2117. Longmont-based artist Julie Clement celebrates this event in Venus and Sun, a monumental (32 feet by 8 feet) wall mural commissioned by the Longmont Museum and Cultural Center and supported by the Friends of the Longmont Museum. Created in the artist’s signature dot-style of painting over a period of six weeks, Clement’s vivid and imaginative interpretation of these celestial bodies is at once overwhelming in scale and intricate in detail. Its repetition of form—thousands of dots—and its vibrancy of color inspire a meditative experience for the viewer.
Dots figure big in the work of Georges Seurat, Roy Lichtenstein, Australian Aboriginal artists, and Colorado modernist Vance Kirkland (1904–1981). Clement, as Kirkland did, paints with the tips of dowel rods to depict celestial bodies and cosmic phenomena. “Dots make me joyful. They’re so simple—like a prayer,” says Clement, who finds inspiration in the dot’s pure organic form and its ability to render highly complex and rich compositions that transcend the ornamental. Clement is also drawn to the mythology of Venus, which, for millennia, has been viewed as a source of love, beauty, and creativity.
Venus and Sun will be displayed in the Longmont Museum’s Portal Gallery from May 12 through September 23.
Photos by Debbie Adams