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Charles Clary

2024 South Carolina Fellow for Visual Arts

A man wearing glasses and smiling into the camera

Recipient Information


Conway, South Carolina

Year of Award


Grant or Fellowship

Southern Prize and State Fellowships

Grant Amount


Charles Clary, he/him, 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 on 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 in 2019 he won both People’s Choice Award for 2D and the Merit Prize at ArtFields. He has had work collected by Google and Amazon, and was named the HTC Distinguished Teacher-Scholar at Coastal Carolina University in 2022. 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 Decay, and Bluecanvas Magazine. He has also been featured in publications including 500 Paper Objects, Paper Works, Paper Art, Papercraft 2, and PUSH: Paper. He has been invited to speak at Cambridge University’s annual symposium on human remains and has a chapter published in The Rutledge Handbook on Museums Heritage and Death.

Artist Statement

My work stems from the loss of both my mother and father to smoking related cancers in February of 2013. Their passing left a deep void in my life that led me to reinvestigate the trauma and horrors of childhood. Through this introspection I came to realize how many memories I could not recall and the empty abyss therein. Childhood trauma and abuse is an experience many of us relate to in one way or another. My work seeks to investigate these moments not as abhorrent, insurmountable events but as regrettable occurrences that changed the trajectory of who I am. By mimicking and encapsulating that trauma within distressed drywall panels, I fill that void with paper sculptures both fragile and flexible, testifying to the human psyche and the resilience we all have inside.