Veronica Clements is a Chicago native who lives and works in the suburbs of Chicago. She graduated from the University of Illinois in 2018 with a BFA in Painting and Art History. There, she won the Dorothy & James Shipley Award for Most Outstanding Graduating Senior. She is currently pursuing her MS in Leadership for Creative Enterprises from Northwestern University while doing freelance marketing and social media for Stilwell Social. Clements is a board member, social media manager, and curator for the Chicago Women’s Caucus for Art and the president of the Young Women’s Caucus for Art. Clements was recently included in The Art Center Highland Park’s annual benefit exhibition, Passion Project, and is curating a virtual exhibition with Woman Made Gallery this summer titled ‘Tickled Pink,’ which surrounds joy, humor, and color. She recently curated a show at AIR Gallery in Glencoe featuring the work of over 60 Chicago-area women and non-binary artists in a celebration of femininity and being unapologetically yourself. Clements has displayed her work throughout the Chicago, Urbana, and Springfield, IL area.
I see my work as both a critique and a celebration of modern culture. My work deals with the theme of vanitas, which is a 17th century Dutch genre of painting that uses symbols of transience and impending death to warn against earthly vanity and pleasure. I see my paintings as curiosity cabinets of pop culture and girlhood, and I focus on brevity of life as a symbol of childhood. I don’t want to warn anyone against earthly pleasures in exchange for piety, I see it more as a true reflection of what it means to be an artist. The trivial pursuits of man become the plight of the artist as they strive to make a name for themselves. Just like everyone is constantly trying to relive their childhood, I am attempting to collapse my past into my future. I modernize 17th-century icons using plastic butterfly clips instead of real butterflies and a piggy bank skull instead of a real one. Glass objects that symbolized an artist’s ability to capture light have transformed into glittering bongs in my paintings. This new set of symbolism combines references from childhood with pop culture references. Through this process, I am collapsing and reclaiming these histories so they exist simultaneously although briefly, providing viewers with a different set of pop-imagery that is centered around girlhood and the power that can come from that. Displaying my female identity through investigative collections, I reveal and critique the notions and expectations that gender biases have perpetuated throughout history. Serving my audience with researched concepts and ideas on a hot pink platter, I deal with the theme of validity through violent femininity. I see my work as an expression of a justified autonomy, it’s an illustration of coming of age with the notion of agency.