Tonya Clay Fine Art                       

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​While being visually balanced and aesthetically appealing art should reflect the experience of human life, and offer viewers an opportunity to look deeper, to see something new each time they experience it. This poses a complex challenge for an artist. The artist must be anthropologist, historian, scientist, mathematician, engineer, sociologist and psycho-analyst in the process of creating a work of art.

Art is artifact. Art is fact in the anthropological sense because it involves the human being engaged on all levels of sense and dimension in the time period when an art object is produced. I cherish the idea of precious object on this level, even when it is on grand scale. My goal is to gap bridges between digital and traditional media and to speak to this important shift in core human values, to draw human consciousness back into a corporeal existence. It is through our bodies that human beings access the content of our minds, our spirituality, our souls.  My work intends to reveal the process of a human mind processing life in the mind through the body.

The content of my work is layered on many levels and deals with spirituality, history, social constructs,  gender, and sexuality. Viewers should relate to their physical bodies and be reminded of their own personal histories, dreams, fears, fantasies and future projections. My work causes viewers to examine their comfort levels, and consider their own existence. It intends for viewers to be seduced by the vibrant and deliberate color schemes that recall dreams, and are also as mysterious. With further consideration, this visceral experience becomes an intellectual one. Viewers of my art will have a physical, psychological, intellectual and emotional experience that shines light on social and personal dynamics. More than just echo the sensations of being human, it should offer hope, show pathways to coping, and personal evolution. Art is a direct means of accessing the truth to questions about human life that people consider or avoid most. My work will cause viewers to question their familiar existence, to look beyond the surface, to become aware.

Within my paintings night can become day, as inside space becomes outside space. In the three dimensional painting, The Annunciation: Waters of March, winter can also be seen changing into summer.  The Christian and art historical narrative of the Annunciation is one that has been revisited in many of my work for over fifteen years. As the concept evolves in my works, so does the personal and social narrative attached to it.

My art is created based on complex compositional structures that involve the representation of a variety of spaces simultaneously in one work. In many of my paintings space extends beyond two-dimensional boundaries into organic three dimensional shapes. The two dimensional surface is relief in some areas up to ten inches.  Fabric, wood and polymer clay come out into the space of the viewer. The application of paint and other media in my work varies from loose to meticulously rendered. The paint is thickly applied and opaque in some areas and very thin and translucent in others. In keeping with the philosophies of certain Abstract Expressionists, the physical process of making the work is as important as the finished product. Each physical act of making a mark, or pushing clay into form, is transferring energy into the surface, and in effect imbuing the work with life. The resulting marks reflect a state of mind as handwriting does. Not only are ideas conveyed in the finished work, but human consciousness is revealed.  In the same way that an electroencephalogram reveals brain activity, or as lines of an EKG records the functions of the heart, mark making documents a life and reveals the true mental/emotional status of a human being