BRIAN STYMEST’S WORK was the initial inspiration in the founding of Clerestory Fine Art. I went to visit Stymest in his home studio in Montclair, NJ in the summer of 2018 with the objective of buying a painting of his I had seen on display in a local salon. I fell in love with this painting, Bathers, and couldn’t stop thinking about it. When walking into his home studio in Montclair, NJ, I was left speechless by the volume of paintings throughout his home, stacked in huge piles in his first floor studio and basement. As an art historian and host of The Montclair Figure Drawing Group, I am fascinated by the portrayal of the human form – the most ancient aesthetic subject. The body presents unique angles, curves, three-dimensional form, foreshortening, textures, and the ultimate “intimidating” subject for an artist to recreate, as our human eye is so trained to acknowledge what a body “should” look like.
The boldness of What the Butler Saw enchanted me immediately. At that time, I was co-Director for an incubator for emerging artists in a public space in Montclair. Our exhibitions were extremely well-received, and I enjoyed diving in and curating, but sensitivity to subject matter (no nudes, nothing political) and size challenges limited the scale of work we could highlight. These restrictions meant I could not present Brian’s art to the public in that context, and inspired me to start Clerestory Fine Art to ensure great artists like Brian would get the recognition they richly deserve.
Meeting Brian made me realized there is a unique opportunity in Montclair to connect creators and collectors. He is the first in our stable of artists with fiercely independent aesthetics, all of whom are worthy of scholarly attention and a place in serious collections.
Kathryn Waggener McGuire
CLERESTORY FINE ART
Opening celebration photos by Armando “OUTthere” Diaz