Memento Morididdle by Charles Clary

September 12, 2024 - October 11, 2024

Location: UCF Art Gallery

Charles Clary’s Memento Morididdle installations take the form of Victorian or Rococo salon style walls, densely compacted with hundreds of frames, with each frame containing a paper sculpture. This maximalist approach to his installation practice achieves the desired outcome of overwhelming the viewer with an inundation of information. But unlike historic sitting rooms he collects his traumas, abuses, transgressions, and grief for exhibition. These memories are on display for all to see: no hiding, no masking, just raw truths. Not only are they my traumas, but they are often those of the viewers as well. Collectively we hurt, we grieve, and we lament the darkest moments in our lives. Instead of hiding behind walls, we can wear them as badges of honor and growth.


Charles Clary, he/him, was born in 1980 in Morristown, Tennessee. He received his BFA in painting with honors from Middle Tennessee State University and his MFA in painting from the Savannah College of Art and Design. He has shown in exhibitions at Galerie Evolution-Pierre Cardin in Paris, France, The Netherlands’ CODA Museum Paper Biennial in 2021, The Shanghai Paper Biennial in 2021, Art of Paper Fair in New York City, and many other international, national, and regional juried, group, solo, and museum exhibitions. Clary won Top Prize at the 2016 ArtFields Competition in Lake City, SC, and in2019 he won both People’s Choice Award for 2D and the Merit Prize at ArtFields. He recently sold three commissioned pieces to Google corporate offices, and he was named the HTC Distinguished Teacher-Scholar at Coastal Carolina University in 2022, the highest award bestowed upon a faculty member by the university. Clary has been featured in numerous print and Internet interviews including Create! Magazine, Candyfloss, This is Colossal, WIRED magazine (US and UK), Hi Fructose, Beautiful Deay, and Bluecanvas Magazine. He has also been featured in publications including 500 Paper Objects, PaperWorks, Paper Art, Papercraft 2, and PUSH: Paper. Charles has exhibited regionally, nationally, and internationally innumerous solo and group shows, represented by Paradigm Gallery+ Studio in Philadelphia, and R02 Gallery in Dallas, Texas. Clary currently lives and works in Conway, South Carolina, where he is a Professor of Studio Art and Associate Chair at Coastal Carolina University.

Artist statement:

My work stems from the loss of both my mother and father due to smoking related cancers in February of 2013. Their passing left a deep void in my life that led to my interest in Memento Mori, remembering that one day you will die, and a reinvestigation of my own childhood trauma, abuse, and mortality. Through these investigations I came to terms with the trauma of my childhood and the lack of memories I actually have. Picture frames are usually reserved for those most cherished memories: a family outing, birthdays, weddings, or holiday get togethers. They rarely encapsulate the most influential events: a death in the family, trauma, or abuse. My work seeks to investigate these moments as they force us to make decisions, decisions that lead to life-changing events. We either rise to the occasion or sink into despair. Pulling from the ideation of mourning jewelry, hair wreaths, and Victorian sitting rooms, my work mimics and encapsulates trauma within the fragility of paper.

Exhibition Dates:

Sept 12 – Oct 11 

Opening Reception: Thursday, Sept 12 from 5-7pm (artist will not be present) 

Closing Reception and Artist Talk: Friday, Oct 11 from 5-7pm 

Additional information and programming coming soon!