Clifford Prince King Where Beauty Softens Your Grief
September 5 – October 5, 2021
Born: Tucson, AZ
September 28, 1993 3:50 PM
Sun: Libra 5° 49’
Moon: Pisces 15° 48’
Venus: Virgo 8° 59’
Clifford Prince King was born in the light of an irrefutable sun in a desert city. Slightly angled in the late afternoon, it was difficult to turn your back on it. Casting your gaze to the ground, the dirt only served to amplify the glare. Other things glittered in this light— bits of shiny metal, beads of sweat on foreheads and necks, a gold wedding band, car keys held loosely in someone’s hand. This sun was seated in the sign of Libra in a place known to ancient stargazers as God. They believed beauty and justice were inextricably linked and this link was represented by the planet Venus and the sign of the scales, Libra.
Venus at the time of King’s arrival was bowing towards the western horizon in the sign of Virgo. Here, the planet wrestles with unpalatable truths of the material world— all things of beauty will inevitably decay and fairness is an ideal neither consistently nor universally upheld. In this vision, the photograph is weighted with a burden of proof, a testimony of emotions and intimacies others attempt to deny.
Early on it was likely that even strangers noted an aura of singularity around King. Later this response would ripen into a reverence or, at the very least, a feeling that one ought to be quiet in his presence. The planets hinted at other facets of King’s character, qualities such as an impressive ability to hold himself steady amidst sudden external fluctuations, as well as a powerful intellect nurtured through careful observation. It seemed only natural then that he would gravitate toward photography as a means of capturing the rarities that sparkled under his gaze.
‘Where Beauty Softens Your Grief’ opens on the 5th of September as the Sun and Moon join in Mercury’s sign of Virgo. Given the inevitable rise and fall of chatter at an opening, viewers will probably want to return to these images more than once. Similar to King’s own presence, this show asks that viewers locate a point of stillness within themselves so that they might hear more fully what is being communicated through his lens.
Clifford Prince King has exhibited work at Jeffrey Dietch Gallery, Higher Pictures, the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art, MASS MoCA, Marc Selwyn Gallery, and Stars Gallery. Currently, King’s work ‘We Used to Lay Together’ is on display at Light Work in New York. His work is held in the collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Arts, the Minneapolis Institute of Art and the Studio Museum in Harlem. King was runner-up for the Robert Giard Emerging Photographer Grant in 2020.