Shauna Cook Clinger was born in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1954. She is a painter of portraits and figurative allegorical pieces. She lives in Salt Lake City.
Clinger began her art studies under Harold Peterson. When she was 17, she was awarded a four-year presidential scholarship to study at the University of Utah. She studied under the academically trained painter, Alvin Gittins, while she was at the University. She graduated magna cum laude in 1976.
Clinger has had many one-woman shows and group showings. One such group show, Seven Realists, was at the Kimball Art Center in Park City, Utah. Her works also can be seen at the University of Utah Medical Center and at Utah State University. In the autumn 1992, one of her paintings was shown at the National Museum for Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C..
Biography adapted from Artists of Utah and material provided by the artist.
A daughter of a renowned geophysicist and a sixth generation Utahn, Shauna Cook Clinger's love of heaven and earth runs in her blood. Born in Salt Lake City, she discovered early that the landscape was alive; that the mountains next to her home were her Guardians and living near the Wasatch Fault meant the ground sometimes stirs in its sleep. From her father she learned the earth tells its own “story“ through prehistoric land forms, rock strata and fault lines. She often visited her grandparents' large farm in Southern Utah where she loved to ride her horse wildly through the desert landscape. The wind blows continually there, and it blew indelible impressions of red rock, sun, water and farmed earth into her young psyche. These settings of majestic mountains and the expanse of untamed desert grounded her in the natural world.
She was an artistically gifted child. Some of her earliest memories are of rendering endless color designs on paper. Her mother was an art teacher in the public schools, and because of her mother's access to thousands of art images in books and prints, Cook Clinger was exposed at an early age to the broad expanse of art history: from ancient cave paintings, to the Renaissance, to Picasso, Pollack and DeKooning. At the tender age of seven, she stood in awe and excitement in front of huge abstract expressionist and minimalist paintings at the Seattle Worlds Fair. She would often go to the University of Utah Marriott Library for inspiration, pouring over stacks of art books and absorbing images like a sponge. At age seventeen, she received a four year Presidential Scholarship to the University of Utah.
In her first figure drawing class at the University of Utah, as the nude model was posed on the modeling stand, she had an epiphany--she “fell in love“ with the beauty of the human body. Surprising herself with this new love affair, she had no choice but to surrender to the human body's profound power and magnetism. She felt compelled to study the expression and execution of the human figure in earnest. As fate would have it, Cook Clinger found in Alvin Gittins, a classically trained (English School of Portraiture) and internationally recognized portrait and figurative artist, the strong academic training she was looking for. His nineteenth century European standards of drawing and painting were almost nonexistent in an art world swept off its feet for nearly a century by the power of Modern Art.
She found a mentor in Alvin Gittins; he recognized her rare talent and took her under his wing. Doug Snow, a nationally acclaimed abstract expressionist painter inspired by the landscape of the West, was also a major influence on Cook Clinger as she revisited her modern roots in her studies with him. The polarity of approaches to painting between Gittins and Snow was exhilarating for her, and she reaped the harvest directly from both. Gittins wrote: “Shauna Cook [Clinger] is an unusually gifted artist--a 'natural'. . . intellectually and academically superior to her university peer group. . . apt, able, conscientious and strongly motivated. . . invariably leading the class by her example of diligence and brilliance.“ She graduated Magna Cum Laude and was also elected to Phi Kappa Phi, Mortar Board and Who's Who in American Universities and Colleges. After additional graduate work under Gittins, she focused on commissioned portraiture, which soon led to a five-year waiting list for her work.
Later, she began moving her work in additional directions, expressing her personal ideas and experiences. Cook Clinger has written: “The human body remains my passion and inspiration. The body is at one revelator and revelation, a mediator of worlds, a marriage of heaven and earth. As one with the natural world, it is container of the sacred--materialized spirit and spiritualized matter. My work depicts the human form as an expression of spirit--from a personal interpretation of one specific individual to a symbolic representation of broader ideas, beliefs, and experiences. Mirroring and documenting my personal journey of transformation, evolution, and renewal, my work gives voice to my vision, my prayers, and my gratitude for the gift of life. In it, person, heaven, and earth merge and become one landscape.“
Clinger's works have hung in public institutions throughout the country including the National Museum for Women in the Arts in Washington D.C. Her paintings are in numerous museum, public, corporate and private collections including Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.), Utah Museum of Fine Art, University of Utah Health Sciences Center, Primary Children's Medical Center, University of Utah School of Law, University of Utah School of Physics, University of Utah Graduate School of Social Work, University of Utah Alumni Association, Brigham Young University-Idaho, and Utah State University.
She has received numerous awards including Utah Lieutenant Governors Outstanding Artist Award, Guest Artist - Springville Museum of Art Spring Salon, and the International Fine Art Competition, Museum of Church History and Art.
Selected exhibitions include the official presidential portraits of: President Joseph Fielding Smith (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). President Chase N. Peterson (University of Utah), and President E.G. Peterson (Utah State University). Additional commissions include Dr. Anne Carroll Moore (Originator of Work with Children, New York Public Library), Dr. Eunice O. Schatz (National Director of the Council on Social Work Education), and Dr. George L. Veasy (Co-founder of Primary Children's Medical Center and Physician-in-Chief, Pediatrics).
Utah's landscape and people remain the source of Cook Clinger's artistic strength. Her studio is at the base of the Wasatch Mountains, and they remain a source of inspiration and continue to act as Guardians as they did in her childhood. Utah is where her unique and enduring vision thrives and where her artistic roots are the deepest. For her, Utah is a bedrock, Utah is home.
She is represented by Phillips Gallery in Salt Lake City, Utah.
In the Permanent Collections of:
Juried Exhibitions and Awards
To contact this artists: firstname.lastname@example.org
Biography courtesy of Artists of Utah and the artist.
"Arts Briefs." The Salt Lake Tribune, August 22, 1999.
Gibbons, Francis M. Joseph Fielding Smith: Gospel Scholar, Prophet of God. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book Co, 1992.
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Thayne, Emma Lou. Things Happen: Poems of Survival. Salt Lake City, UT: Signature Books, 1991.
Clinger, Shauna C. Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, volume 22, number 2, Summer 1989.
Clinger, Shauna C. Menninger Perspective, vol. 22, number 3-4, 1991.