As an artist Clark has mastered the manipulation of the printmaking medium, especially with regard to his innovative use of relief printmaking techniques. Clark understands that printmaking offers multiple metaphors for life's dynamic and often stressful and pressing realities. The press that the matrix passes through applies 100 lbs of pressure per inch much like the societal pressures we face to conform. The paper placed on the hand carved block, incised with the messages and marks of our experience, transfers the nuances of the skeleton and scars of the plate to the paper. The paper reacts easily under this pressure and does not tear or break.
Coupled with his deft skills, the combination of pressure and the hard resistant surface of the block, covered with wet sensuous ink, gently comes into contact with the soft surface of the paper to produce graphic metaphors symbolic of our being. Printmaking is a struggle over the physical world of materials in an effort to give voice to a longing for artistic freedom and human consciousness. Clark’s imagery further illustrates these tensions and conflicts that we all encounter as we negotiate our resistance or capitulation with societal expectations and demands.
Clark states that his recent interest focuses on exploring the duality of our existence as humans. On one hand he asserts that there is the veiled life we lead under the restraints of society and the cloud of consumerism. He has chosen to explore this distortion of the human body and spirit as a way of liberating us from the intoxication of existence. This work is as well self-referential as he struggles to resist societal constraints and intrusions into his own life. Clark has written that: “If we can’t take the time to stop and contemplate our own history, and origins, then how can we take the time to think about any reality beyond our own. Contemplation beyond the typical is what interests me, and why this work will have ideas depicting the physical world leading the viewer into alternate realities beyond what the normal person has the interest, time or nerve to think about.”
Clark goes on to assert, “I” the artist watches the work evolve right in front of me using the most alien form of communication, the “Imagination” to create these works. It’s been theorized that our imagination is the true alien of our universe, that our brains are merely a flesh receiver living in this plane of reality and our bodies are the tools to act out these signals. Our words and movements enable us to make physical manifestations of these ideas into reality. I find this idea fascinating and see the idea of what is the imagination to be another layer within the work.”
As a printmaker Clark has explored the various traditional and nontraditional mediums such as intaglio, serigraph, monoprint, embossment, and etching. His non-traditional practices include “image on blue” film as well as computer drawing software in combination with CNC (Computer Numerical Control) for mill cutting applications. He prints on materials not normally associated canvas, muslin, Plexiglas, glass, book board, among other materials.
There are endless possibilities ahead for this talented artist and he has already demonstrated that rare combination of technical expertise and limitless imagination.
Curlee Raven Holton
David M. and Linda Roth Professor of Art