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Biography - Cliff Baard
Cliff Baard was born in South Africa in 1954. He received no formal training in art despite demonstrating an early talent for drawing and painting. At age 10 he moved with his parents from the Transvaal to the Cape where he was enrolled at Somerset House Preparatory School, Somerset West. He was encouraged to develop his talent by the school's headmaster, Les Webb, and at age 11 he competed in and won a local art competition.
Les Webb furthered Cliff's artistic career by arranging informal weekly lessons for him with Irma Stern, one of the judges who had shown interest in meeting the young artist. She continued to guide him for the next couple of years.
After graduation Baard worked in the computer industry until 2002, at which time he decided to pursue his love of art full time. He established a name for himself in South Africa with his landscapes and in 2004, while still painting landscapes, he began developing new creative techniques that did not fully emerge until his work on “Cosmic Fire.”
By 2007 his landscapes were in great demand and he was invited to mount his first official exhibition at Cape Gallery, [city], South Africa. His exhibition became such a huge success he was subsequently able to personally select the South African galleries in which his work would be displayed.
Cliff's evolution as an artist began, appropriately enough, with a painting he completed in 1984 titled “Evolution.” This initial inspiration evolved into the vision for a future exhibition titled 'Cosmic Fire' in which Baard links art and science in his attempt to represent his understanding of spirituality and our physical universe. By 2012 he had completed the hundreds of drawings that comprise “Cosmic Fire.” In 2014 he moved to Europe and set up a studio in Wiehl, Germany. Wiehl is surrounded by nature and conveniently located 50 km from Cologne.
Artist's Statement and Vision
My aim is to paint esoteric art comprised of sensory overlays and tonal values that merge to provide a unified experience of the universal principles underpinning physical reality. My desire is not merely to reveal the beauty of creation but to question its very existence. I invite the viewer to discover something new each time my art is viewed.
Over the years I have developed and explored new techniques in my desire to express through art my personal discoveries concerning the nature of reality. Each creation starts with a sketched vision which becomes a rough-cut titled drawing. I then transfer the sketch to canvas and use oil paints to create something new and inspiring. The new techniques developed while painting landscapes became the catalyst that has allowed me to bring my vision of 'Cosmic Fire' to life.
My art provides the viewer with a glimpse of what I consider to be the systematic evolution of form. It is intended to indicate to humankind the part we each play as “atomic units” in a greater corporeal whole. The paintings included in “Cosmic Fire” reveal a hidden universe that is only now beginning to be explored.
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