Susan Clinard

Artist's statement

Susan Clinard. Photo by Leigh Busby Susan Clinard. Photo by Leigh Busby

By carving wood, forming clay, bending wire, collaging paper, and using found objects, I hope to reveal something that you already know but have never felt or considered before —- someone else’s story or beauty —- so that in turn you see yourself reflected. I am captivated by the subtle nuances in life, the mundane flipped upside down to reveal the poetic, what hope might look like, how a piece of artwork brings one to tears, finding joy in an object’s form, how anxiety might be a knotted ball of twine while openness and acceptance might be represented by a concave space, how art can initiate change … all of this gets woven into my art making.

I have been a working artist for thirty years and a fervent observer of life for as long as I can remember. My work is an exploration of nature’s forms, distorted and perfect, found and inspired. It tells stories, helps us connect and speak about our shared fears, beauty, and struggles. In all my work, I am most concerned with staying honest to myself, to the process of creation, to my materials, and to the subject matter I choose.

Short Bio

Susan Clinard. Tintype by Greg Shea Susan Clinard. Tintype by Greg Shea

Susan started sculpting at age 19. Following a degree in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Michigan, Susan moved to Chicago in 1995 where her gift for storytelling took root. While exhibiting her art at multiple venues throughout the city Susan also taught stone carving at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, sculpture at the Palette and Chisel Academy, and Gallery 37. In 2007 Susan moved her studio to New Haven, Connecticut. Since 2011 she has also been the artist in Residence at the Eli Whitney Museum. Her sculptures can be found in galleries, in public parks, and in collections worldwide. Susan has received numerous awards, including most recently one of the nation’s top carving award -- The 2019 MH Hammerschlag Award, and the 2018 Art by the Northeast Award for Sculpture.

Quotes about Susan's art

“In Susan’s work, we see a deep appreciation for human history, for the eloquence of human gesture, as well as for the felt experience of individual lives. And we feel an obvious and contagious joy in what wood and wire, found objects and images, can come to reveal through the work of her hands and shaping spirit. She succeeds in illuminating both the overwhelming and underlaying connectivity of our world” Yale Daily News

“Clinard’s work shows both empathy and immense technical proficiency, as if we have stepped from mid-polar vortex New Haven into Paris’ Musée Bourdelle, the quirky atelier of a monumental sculptor. The pieces keep us coming back not just because they are timely, but also because they are good. Indeed, Clinard has asked us to stare something in the face, and make her a promise in return. That we’ll be better, so someone else’s tomorrow can be too.” Arts Council 2019

“The soulful essence that infuses each of Clinard’s figurative pieces also binds them as a collection. Her deftness with three-dimensional materials, empathic nature and strong propensity for revealing the human condition is part of what makes her a 21st century master sculptor.” New Haven Independent 2016

“There is something intense yet poetic in the sensibilities of Clinard’s art work. Amidst today’s plethora of art, she manages to say something very different. There is a clear luminosity to her work that is contemporary, yet incredibly timeless… her aesthetic places you in an artistic territory that creates a dialogue, causing viewers to stop in their tracks." ART PLATFORM NYC 2014

“Moving work. Archetypal. Sad but transcendent. So much art seems to aim at experimentation, decoration and charm. Clinard’s feels much deeper.” Christensen. Imagine Project, 2014

“There is something ineffably brave about Clinard’s boat pieces. These people seem filled with holiness and purpose and to be capable of mitigating evil.” Barry Lopez, author 2014

“Clinard crafts wonderfully evocative works that seem to exist at some mysterious junction between the world of the spirit and that of reality.” New Haven Register 2011

“It is very rare to see realistic sculpture that is so honest, masterful and contemporary.” Budzik 2012

"The passion that inhabits her art at times seems to echo the gravitas and spirit of 19th century French sculptor Auguste Rodin,(her work) evokes deep spirituality-a hallmark of Clinard's sculptural work." Sepulveda 2013

Susan Clinard. Photo by Lotta Studio Susan Clinard. Photo by Lotta Studio

Selected solo and two person exhibitions

2021Border Crossings in Arts and Humanities, Contours Collaborations, Online
2020Bridge over troubled waters, Gedney Gallery, MA
2019Places We've Been, Yale University Whitney Humanity Center, New Haven, CT
2019Inside Out, Five Points Gallery, Torrington, CT
2018Silvermine Art Gallery, New Canaan, CT
2018Dedee Shattuck Gallery, Westport, MA
2018Undercurrents: Revisited, Potter Gallery, Simsbury, CT
2017Junc·ture. Keator Gallery, New Haven, CT
2017Time Will Tell, The Kohn-Joseloff Gallery, Cheshire, CT
2016Navigating the Human Landscape, Marie L. Trichet Gallery Wisdom House, Litchfield, CT
2016Filtering Noise, DaSilva Gallery, New Haven, CT
2015Yale University, Jonathan Edwards College Gallery, New Haven, CT
2015Spaces In between, Artifact Gallery, New York,NY
2014Distances, Theater Works Gallery, Hartford, CT
2014At the Corner of Spirit and Reality, Trinity, New Haven, CT
2014Threads of Serendipity, Kehler Liddell Gallery, New Haven, CT
2013Undercurrents, Mary C. Daly, RSM Art Gallery, Madison, CT
2012Reflections of Place, Kehler Liddell Gallery, New Haven, CT
2011Spaces, Chicago Art Matrix Gallery, Chicago
2011New Works, Kehler Liddell Gallery, New Haven
2010Turning Wheel, University of New Haven, Seton Gallery, New Haven
2009Vessels and Compartments, Chicago Art Matrix Gallery, Chicago
2009Paper Wood and Bone, Kehler Liddell Gallery, New Haven
2008Untitled, Palais de l’Europe, Menton, France
2008Life’s Spectrum, Riverstreet Gallery, New Haven
2008A Collection, New Haven Lawn Club Gallery, New Haven
2007Untitled, Marsh Botanical Gardens at Yale University, New Haven
2006Tikkun Olam, Almquist Gallery, Winettka
2006Fragments, Parts Unknown Gallery, Chicago
2005Motion and Rest, BigTown Gallery, Burlington, VT
2004Moment In Time, Cultural Center at PVB, Ponte Vedra Beach,Fl

Selected group exhibitions

2020The Newport Annual, Newport Art Museum, Newport, RI
2020The Golden Door, Silvermine Gallery, New Canaan, CT
2020Unraveling A Collective Mourning, H. Miossi Art Gallery, San Luis Obispo, CA
2019Winter Selects, Susan Ely Fine Arts, New York, NY
2019Ric Michel Fine Art TriBeCa, Pop Up Gallery, Southampton, NY
2019Maryland Federation of Art, Annapolis, MD
2019Slater Museum, Norwich, CT
2019Heart and Mind, Silvermine Gallery, CT
2018Art of the Northeast, Silvermine Gallery, CT
2017Broad Stripes Bright Stars, Eli Center for Contemporary Art, CT
2015This into That, Nave Gallery, Somerville, MA
2014Art Basel Week. Miami River Art Fair, Dr.B Aust-Wegemund, Miami, FL
2014Winchester Loft Commissions, Reynolds Fine Art Gallery, New Haven, CT
2014Nothing Set In Stone, New Haven Museum, New Haven, CT
2014Doll-Like, John Slade Ely House Gallery, New Haven, CT
2013Paper New England, Artspace Gallery, Hartford, CT
2012Local Builders: Anthology of CT Sculptors, A-Space Gallery, West Haven, CT
2012Beyond Rodin, Rye Arts Center, Rye, New York, NY
2010Works in Wood, New Hope Arts Gallery, New Hope, PA
2008Gallery Artist, Richard Hughes Gallery, San Antonio, TX
2007Untitled, Michael Zschoche Gallery, Newport Beach, CA
2007Go Blue, Johnsonese Gallery, Chicago, IL
2006UofM Alumni, Madron Gallery of American Art, Chicago, Best of Show Award, IL
2006Untitled, Thomas Masters Gallery, Chicago, IL
2005Group Show, 4Arts Gallery, Chicago, IL
2003Tribute to D. Haddock, Political Library. Concord, NH
2003Untitled, Columbia College Dance Center. Chicago, IL
2002Flamenco, Art Institute of Chicago. Richard and Ellen Sander Gallery. Chicago, IL

Selected public commissions

Carnegie Foundation, New York, NY
Subaru of America Headquarters, Camden, NJ
Sipi Metal Corp., Iron Pourer Statue, Chicago, IL
Gaelic American Club, Irish 1916 Rising Monument, Fairfield, CT
Randall Publishing, Tuscaloosa, AL
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, CA
Dr, James Still Memorial, Medford, NJ
Clio Memorial, New York, NY
City of Chicago, Gompers Park Statue, Chicago, IL
Corsair Apartments, Sculpture installation, New Haven, CT
IAWTA Award, Los Angeles, CA
Forest City Enterprises, Winchester Lofts. New Haven, CT
LaSalle Bank Mural Building. Gallery 37, Chicago, IL
The Rehabilitation Institute, Chicago,IL
City of Bridgeport, James O’Rourke and Louis H. Latimer Statues, Bridgeport, CT
James Kasler Statue, Momence, IL
Boys Club of St. Louis, St. Louis, MO
University of Illinois, Champaign, IL
Maravilla Hall, Lincolnshire, IL
Ele’s Place, Lansing, MI
Edward Hospital Angel Memorial, Naperville, IL
Hendrix Memorial, St. Simons Island, GA

Selected private collections

Vjera and Ivan Decker, Zagreb, Croatia
Dr. Christian Mottet, Lausane, Switzerland
Dean Takaahashi and Wendy Sharp, Brandford, CT
Dr. Valentina Greco and Dr. Antonio Giraldez, New Haven CT
Dr. Ben and Lucy Machintosh-Lawrence, Auckland, New Zealand
Dr.Junko Murakami, Kobe, Japan
Dr. Adam Jones, British Columbia, Canada
Mr. and Mrs. Pierre Durchon, Paris, France
G. Rouwenhorst and B. Huang , New Haven, CT
Alexander Weismann, Kiel, Germany
Richard Zandy, New York, NY
Marc Vanoverstraeten, Brussels, Belgium
Giuseppe Festa, Caserta, Italy
Dr. Jilda Williams, Chicago, IL
Ifeoma Nwokoye and James Forman, New Haven CT
Peter and Sandy Axilrod, New York, NY
Doris Haddock “Granny D”, Dublin, NH
Zlabys Memorial, Lithuania
Alan and Jeannie Mayer, North Haven CT
Dr.Josiah Childs and Mary Wegner, Hamden, CT
Claudine Pignolet, Martigny, Switzerland
Joanne Sweeney, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
Dr. E.Kostas-Polston, West Plains, MO
Christophe and Mannuel Emonet, Geneva, Switzerland
Mari Cruz Gómez Reñasco, Canary Islands, Spain
Dr. Robert Van Tassel, Minneapolis, MN
Dr. Doug Weibel, St.Louis, WI
David and Joanne Goldblum, New Haven, CT
Patrick McCoy, Chicago, IL
c.7 d. Wiman, Hamden, CT
Francois and Laetitia Gevers, Alsemberg, Belgium
Dr, Mark Connolly, River Forest, IL
Dr. Harry and Karly Spell, Oregon, IL
Paula Hiuser, Gilford, NH
Ms. Quimsom, Los Angeles, CA
David and Callie Tein, Woodbridge, CT
Bruce Navak, FL
Judee Gallagher, Chicago, IL
Jeffrey Breslow, Chciago, IL
Rick and Bic Callahan, Evanston, IL

Selected publications

11/20/2020Barsky launches state-of-the-art digital journal on art and border crossings
8/13/2020Sculptor’s Work Crosses Borders, Breaks Ground
4/1/2020Sculptor Gives Thanks In Place
12/18/19heART and Mind at Silvermine Arts Center
01/25/19A Place of Relief, Yale Daily News
01/31/19The “Places We’ve Been” And The People We Are
02/19/19Human Dimension
04/20/18Mother Maker: featured artist
04/16/18The Woven Tale Press: featured artist
03/17/17New Haven Independent: About the travel ban
06/16/16New Haven Independent
06/20/16WTNH News
06/16/16Hartford Current
06/29/16New Haven Register
02/16/16New Haven Independent
11/25/15New Haven Register
5/27/15New Haven Register
03/4/15The Daily Nutmeg
04/01/15Yale Daily News
05/16/14The Hartford Currant
04/12/13New Haven Register
01/29/13New Haven Independent
03/29/13New Haven Independent
05/06/14New Haven Independent
10/10/12The Arts Paper
04/08/12New York Times
12/19/11New York Times
05/02/11New City Art
01/03/11New Haven Register
01/31/11New Haven Independent
08/21/10Connecticut Post
08/27/10Fairfield Patch
01/11/10New City Art, Chicago
06/11/09Connecticut Post
10/31/08Prompt Magazine
04/16/08The Princeton Packet, New Jersey. Tempo feature article
03/30/08Nice-Martin, Nice, France
12/12/07Hartford Courant
09/12/08New Haven Register
08/09/08New Haven Register
03/27/08Yale University Daily News
01/25/08New Haven Register
12/05/07New Haven Register
12/05/07Yale University Daily News
12/03/07Yale University Daily News
12/01/07New Haven Register (front page)
03/01/07Life By Design Magazine. Feature Article
12/14/07Chicago Tribune
10/01/05Kalamazoo Gazette
03/01/04Ponte Vedra Recorder
08/01/03Today’s Chicago Woman Magazine. Woman About Town
04/01/03The Collegian
02/28/03The Chicago reader
02/01/02Fine Arts Ceramics. feature article.
11/01/02Sculpture Journal. feature article
09/02/02The Chicago Tribune. On the Job
05/01/02The Art Institute of Chicago News and Events Magazine
09/05/01The Chicago Reader
12/01/99The Chicago reader
06/01/00New York Times Magazine
06/01/00Chicago Magazine

Demonstrations, workshops, lectures

Pivot Projects: Arts and Culture, 2021
Arts Council Award. Emancipation Takes a Knee Documentary, 2020
Curator of the show Stories From Near and Far: Refugee Artists in New Haven, New Haven 06/2016
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Artist Day, NYC, New York 04/14
Foundation Pierre Gianadda, Martigny, Switzerland
Yale Theater Department, Adam Mickiewicz Institute Warsaw, New Haven
British Museum at Yale University, Lecture and tour 4/11
WGN Morning News. Channel 9. 4/28 and 5/15/2003
The Art Institute of Chicago Museum (x 4)
Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Blue Note Ball (x 2)
National Center on Poverty Law
Lizzaro Museum, Elmhurst, IL
CT Department of Mental Heath
Trenton Artist Workshop Assoc., April, 25-27, 2008
Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services, New Haven, CT


The School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Palette and Chisel Academy for the Fine Arts, Chicago, IL
Gallery 37, The City of Chicago
Creative Arts Workshop, New Haven CT
Eli Whitney Museum, Hamden CT


1995-1993The University of Michigan. B.A. in Cultural Anthropology

Grants and Awards

2020Arts Council Commission Award, New Haven, CT
2019Mariland Federation of Art, Eye Of The Beholder, First Prize
2019Margo Harris Hammerschlag Biennal Direct Carving Award, National Association of Women Artists
2011-2019Artist-in-residence: Eli Whitney Museum.
2018Carole Eisnor Sculpture Award: Art of the Northeast
2015Arts Council Award, New Haven, CT
2015Studio Tour by curator, Olu Oguibe, New Haven
2014Studio Tour by art historian, Rena Tobey, New Haven
2014T.A.P.S Award, New Haven Public Schools
2013Studio Tour by art historian, Anne Higonnet, New Haven
2010Women’s Caucus for Art San Diego, Best In Show
2010Peace by Peace/Yale Medical School, 1st Prize
2010Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services, Person of the Year
2008The Puffin Foundation Grant