El Paso, TX 79924, U.S.A.
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The strong rays of the El Paso sun provide a mystical warmth to the carving process of sculptor Claude Montes. The biomorphic shapes of the stone figures he creates are enhanced by the shadows that harmoniously play upon the pieces as they gradually evolve after numerous poundings with the hammer and chisels. Claude fluctuates between wood and stone depending on his inner feelings and intuitions to express and replicate a certain shape, sometimes anatomical in nature. In sculpture the material has a tendency to take its own course, which is natural. It is much pleasingly gratifying to continue what nature has already started on an irregular shape of wood or stone.
For Claude, there seems to be a perpetual need to explore the human anatomy in some of the endless stages and motions that it endures during this brief and fleeting moment called life. Life, which is all about doing; making something happen. As inoffensive as Claude's sculptures may seem, they leave no one the same after thoughtful observance. He wonders at times whether he was really the one who actually executed a particular piece. There seems to be an inner self who takes over the creative process. Many moments of sculpting can sometimes pass in a trance like state, mesmerizing the artist to the point of becoming totally disconnected from reality. Sculpture is therefore a wonderful therapy for the mind, body and soul, when one makes full use of both hands and both hemispheres of the brain. One can reach a point known as self-actualization, also achieved during transcendental meditation.
Born on the rugged mountains of Petion-Ville, Haiti, Claude Montes has always pursued the path of the visual arts. Beginning with drawing at an early age, Claude began to paint in 1965 with watercolour and then with oils. It was not until 1987 that he began to explore the possibilities of clay and stones while attending a sculpture class at Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas. It is in sculpture that he began to develop what can be called a style, from several carving techniques and renditions of the human figure. Under the tutelage of Mr. John Vinklarek, professor of Art, Claude was introduced to quarried stones from Sweetwater, Texas. During that same period with professor Martha Wittstruck, Claude learned the properties of clay. He made several paintings of her pots before taking her classes.
Claude and family migrated to the United States. He completed High School in three years while acquiring English as a third language, he was already fluent in Creole and French. He has since become fluent in Spanish, and currently learning Chinese and Japanese simultaneously. He is an avid fan of foreign films and a filmmaker in his own right. So far he has edited and produced many short films and three award wining documentaries: Brother Joseph, Mother Josephine, and Changchun Street.
The Olympic year of 1976 found Claude in the beautiful city of Montreal, Canada where he studied at the School of Modern Photography. After a short stint as a newspaper photographer in Brooklyn, New York, Claude headed West to Texas and became a welder at a manufacturer of offshore drilling rigs. While attending university in the day he worked at night for Johnson & Johnson where he learned how to make needles that were used in eye surgery. In 1988 he graduated with a Bachelor's degree of Fine Art from Angelo State University. After a two-year visit to Europe and a three-month excursion in the Middle East desert, El Paso became a welcoming paradise. Similar to the tropical warmth of the Caribbean, with the bonus of endless days of sunshine and low rain fall. An ideal location for plein air stone carving and art in general.
Selected One Man Shows
- The Kendall gallery, San Angelo, TX. 1986
- The Tom Green County Library Gallery, San Angelo, TX. 1986
- Angelo State University Gallery, San Angelo, TX. 1987
- Lincoln Arts Center, El Paso, TX. 1995
- Glass Gallery, UTEP University of Texas at El Paso 2001
Selected Group Shows
- Angelo State University Gallery, San Angelo, TX. 1986, 1987
- Ormond Beach Museum, Ormond Beach, FL. 1988
- Lincoln Arts Center, El Paso, TX. 1995, 1997
- El Paso Museum of Art, El Paso, TX. 1992
- Art In the Park, El Paso, TX. 1993, 1994
- Collection 13, KCOS TV, El Paso, TX. 1995, 1999
- Sierra Providence Health Networks/El Paso Art Association, 1992- 2009
- FirstPlace Ribbon, Kendall Gallery, San Angelo, TX. 1986
- Guaranteed Purchase Award from Sierra Medical, El Paso, TX. 1995
- First Place Award and Purchase Award, Sierra Health Networks 1997
- Collection 13, KCOS TV, Judges' Choice, El Paso, TX. 1999
- Second Place, 2000; Best of Show, Sierra Providence Health Networks/ El Paso Art Association Arts International Show 2001
- Honorary Certificate 2006 Changchun International Symposium
- 8th Changchun China International Sculpthre Symposium 2006
- 12th Changchun China International Sculpthre Symposioum 2011
- 3rd Changchun China World Sculpture Conference 2011
- 3rd International Ceramics Symposium, Changchun, China 2014
- 4th International Sculpture Conference , Changchun, China 2014
- Changchun China World sculpture Park Museum