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  • Shauna Cook Clinger

Shauna Cook Clinger

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:

  1. The Utah Museum of Fine Arts, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah.
  2. The Springville Museum of Art, Springville, Utah.
  3. The Museum of Church History and Art, President's Collection, Salt Lake City, Utah.
  4. The State of Utah Fine Arts Collection.
  5. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, Massachusetts.
  6. The Presidents Collection, Park Building, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah.
  7. The University of Utah School of Law, Salt Lake City, Utah.
  8. The University of Utah Graduate School of Social Work, Salt Lake City, Utah.
  9. The University of Utah School of Physics, Salt Lake City, Utah.
  10. The University of Utah Alumni Association, Salt Lake City, Utah.
  11. The University of Utah Health Sciences Center, Salt Lake City, Utah.
  12. The Primary Children's Medical Center, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah.
  13. Brigham Young University-Idaho, Rexburg, Idaho.
  14. Utah State University, Logan, Utah.

Juried Exhibitions and Awards

  1. Utah Art 2002: An Exhibition of Critically Juried Contemporary Utah Art, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2002, in conjunction with the Salt Lake City Olympic Winter Games, juried by Michael Quick (American writer and art historian and past Curator of American Art, Los Angelas County Museum of Art, 1976-1993).
  2. 77th Utah Spring Salon, Springville Museum of Art, Springville, Utah, 2002.
  3. Viewers Choice Award, Utah '99, Utah Arts Council, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1999.
  4. The Spiritual in Art, Purchase Award, Springville Museum of Art, Springville, Utah, 1993.
  5. Out of the Land: Utah Women - National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington D.C., 1993 (one of 25 artists).
  6. Out of the Land: Utah Women, 25 Artists Exhibited at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington D.C., Tivoli Gallery, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1993.
  7. Out of the Land: Utah Women - state exhibition - Springville Museum of Art, Springville, Utah, 1992.
  8. Out of the Land: Utah Women - regional exhibition - Salt Lake Art Center, Salt Lake City, Utah 1992.
  9. Award of Merit - International Fine Art Competition, Museum of Church History and Art, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1991.
  10. Utah '90, Utah Museum of Fine Arts, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1990.
  11. 66th Utah Spring Salon, Springville Museum of Art, Springville, Utah, 1990.
  12. Third Place/Cash Award - International Fine Art Competition, Museum of Church History and Art, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1987.
  13. 61st Annual National April Salon, Springville Museum of Art, Springville, Utah, 1985.
  14. Women Artists of Utah, Springville Museum of Art, Springville, Utah, 1983.
  15. Juror's Favorite--59th National April Salon, Springville Museum of Art, Springville, Utah, 1983.
  16. Legacy, Salt Lake Art Center, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1982.
  17. Utah Women Exhibition, Salt Lake Art Center, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1982.
  18. Utah '81, Salt Lake Art Center, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1981.
  19. Utah Painter Show, Salt Lake Art Center, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1980.
  20. Utah Biennial/Cash Award, Salt Lake Art Center, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1977.
  21. Best in Show--All Medias, Utah State Fair, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1976.

Commissioned Works

  1. President Joseph Fielding Smith, official presidential portrait, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon).
  2. President Chase N. Peterson, official presidential portrait, University of Utah, Park Building Presidents Collection.
  3. Dr. Anne Carroll Moore, Superintendant/originator of Work with Children, New York Public Library, author (Newbery Award), reviewer and critic of children's literature.
  4. Dr. Eunice O. Schatz, National Director of the Council on Social Work Education, Washington D.C..
  5. President E.G. Peterson, official presidential portrait, Utah State University.
  6. President Andrew B. Christenson, Brigham Young University--Idaho.
  7. Dr. George L. Veasy, Co-Founder of Primary Children's Medical Center, University of Utah, Physician-in-Chief and duel professorship - Professor of Pediatrics and Professor of Medicine Adjunct, Primary Children's Medical Center and University of Utah Medical Center.
  8. Gordon and Betty Browning, Browning Auditorium and Plaza, University of Utah Medical Center.
  9. Emma Lou Thayne, Poet, Writer, Lecturer.
  10. President LaVerne Parmley, Co-Founder of Primary Children's Medical Center, University of Utah, and Primary President (Children's Organization), Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon).
  11. John B. Goddard, Founder of Western Mortgage Loan Corporation and United Savings Bank.
  12. Lee Ence, Executive Director, University of Utah Alumni Association.
  13. Ralph Edwards, Architect, Edwards and Daniels.
  14. Other professors and benefactors of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, Massachusetts, University of Utah, University of Utah Medical Center, figure heads of international corporations and many corporate and private collections throughout the United States.

To contact this artists: scookclinger@xmission.com

Biography courtesy of Artists of Utah and the artist.

Newspaper Article

"Arts Briefs." The Salt Lake Tribune, August 22, 1999.

Books

Gibbons, Francis M. Joseph Fielding Smith: Gospel Scholar, Prophet of God. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book Co, 1992.

Marmaduke, Myrtle Marie. After Many Million Heartbeats. Salt Lake City, UT: Peregrine Smith Books, 1991.

Olpin, Robert S., William C. Seifrit, and Vern G. Swanson. Artists of Utah. Salt Lake City, UT: Gibbs Smith Publisher, 1999.

Pearson, Carol Lynn. Mother Wove the Morning A One-Woman Play. Walnut Creek, CA: Carol Lynn Pearson, 1992.

Pearson, Carol Lynn. Picture Window: A Carol Lynn Pearson Collection: from Beginnings to the Present. Carson City, NV: Gold Leaf Press, 1996.

Pearson, Carol Lynn. Women I Have Known and Been. Placerville, CA: Gold Leaf Press, 1992.

Swanson, Vern G., Robert S. Olpin, and William C. Seifrit. Utah Art. Layton, UT: Gibbs Smith Publishing, 1991.

Swanson, Vern G., Robert S. Olpin, and William C. Seifrit. Utah Painting and Sculpture. Layton, UT: Gibbs Smith Publisher, 1997.

Swanson, Vern G., Robert S. Olpin, Donna Poulton and Janie L. Rogers. 150 Year Survey Utah Art,Utah Artists. Salt Lake City, UT: Gibbs Smith, 2001.

Thayne, Emma Lou. Things Happen: Poems of Survival. Salt Lake City, UT: Signature Books, 1991.

Periodicals

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.

 Last Modified 9/3/14