The prints in this exhibition are an extension of a series of road-kill relief prints that I began developing in 2003. During that time, I became fascinated with this subject matter as I traveled the highways and back roads of Georgia and South Carolina. I was first attracted to their strong visual presence, which I enjoyed transforming into a visual language. Whether it was the prehistoric armadillo or the dynamic possum feigning death, I used the subjects as vehicles to address formal elements and principles such as line, shape, texture and pattern.
The imagery in my work comes from my environment. I am not concerned with strictly representing the reality in front of me, but rather utilizing forms and spaces of my environment as vehicles to address formal issues, presenting these familiar subjects in a way that may challenge the viewer’s perception. A major influence on my work has been the experience of living and teaching in the Middle East. I became influenced by the traditional arts of that region. The architecture, textiles and other applied arts provided a significant insight into their cultural heritage.
The bird image appeared in the background of many of the early prints. I began to understand a vast history of meaning associated with the avian symbol. That turned to a fascination as I discovered human interaction with birds has evolved to the point at which legends, folklore, and myths concerning birds has become a part of every culture.
Clifford is currently the associate chair and professor of foundation studies at the Savannah College of Art and Design’s (SCAD) Atlanta campus. His prints and drawings have been exhibited in twelve countries located in North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia.