Nearly everything hangs by a thread in Seth Clark's artwork. Two-dimensional paintings are created primarily with collaged paper and feature architecture on the threshold of ruin. In his sculptural artwork, scrap wood and other aged materials provide the viewer with a brief glimpse into the moment before the structural collapse. Clark continues to push the limits of size, material, and concept in his artwork.
Clark collages with paper because it reflects the fragmented and complex tactility of decay. The materials call attention to the rising instability of the American landscape. Once he achieves a dimensional foundation, various media like charcoal, pastel, and graphite bring definition and depth to these raw materials. The processes of collage and drawing alternate between themselves. The two mediums seamlessly blend. It often takes months for the structure to appear out of the many scraps of paper and scribble. It takes time for “something very energized and present to escape out of a slow history of abandonment.”
Clark’s sculptural artwork further links concept and process. Wood, polystyrene, and plastic are arranged and aged to emphasize a specific part of the structure. Clark’s 2- and 3-dimensional artwork illustrates the extent to which a small disturbance in a system can disrupt the entirety. While his sculptural artwork provides a closer look into a weathering section, Clark's collaged artwork provides the narrative. As both are intertwined, he transitions into the structures with swift momentum. Perhaps even more process-based than sourced from a compilation of historical imagery, Clark's current artwork captures our transient movement through this architectural landscape.
Clark (b.1986) grew up in Seekonk, Massachusetts. He received his BFA in Graphic Design from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2008. Shortly after graduating Clark moved to Pittsburgh and began a series of collage works that captured specific abandoned houses in Detroit. Utilizing his ambitious paper layering process to focus on deteriorating architecture, Clark exhibits extensively in Pennsylvania. The Carnegie Museum of Art, the Westmoreland Museum of American Art, the Pittsburgh Biennial at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, and the Butler Museum of Art have all exhibited Clark's artwork. He has received three Design Excellence Awards from the AIGA Pittsburgh, Best in Show at Three Rivers Arts Festival, the Irene Pasinski Sailer Award, the Irving B. Gruber Award, and was a Flight School Fellow. In 2015, Clark was named Emerging Artist of the Year by the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. He then began experimenting with alternative materials to create three-dimensional artwork. As a resident artist at The Pittsburgh Glass Center, Clark worked collaboratively with artist Jason Forck to create Dissolution, a series of artwork integrating glass into their shared interest in decaying architectural forms. Publications Creative Nonfiction, New American Paintings, and DASH have featured his artwork, as well as National blogs such as The Jealous Curator, Booom!, and Juxtapose. In 2017, he taught students the principles of art and design as a resident artist at the United World College of South East Asia, Singapore. His artwork has also been exhibited at Art on Paper during The Armory in New York City and Aqua Art Miami during Art Basel Miami Beach.
View Seth Clark's 2020 BoxHeart Exhibit, Transience.