|7 Nov 2019||18:00 - 20:00||Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DT|
An exhibition of figurative sculptures by Cambridge based artist John Clark.
John Clark’s paper sculptures combine simple but time consuming manual techniques with high tech design processes that result in objects that might be thought of as a type of modern primitive; objects that testify to the persistence of the personal in a world re-invented by technology and its aesthetics.
In December of 2016, I made a cardboard model of a man I had painted many times. I wondered what would change by taking him off the canvas and standing him in the real world. It never occurred to me to model him with clay or carve him, and I certainly wasn’t going to start casting. I think of myself as a painter and thought of this experiment as one that addressed thoughts I had about painting. It had nothing to do with any thoughts about sculpture because I didn’t have any. Perhaps, for this reason, I took it for granted that he would be folded from paper or card and that he was more a surface than a volume, more a shaped canvas than anything else. He was always, and importantly, a bit flat.
So, I set about cutting and scoring and glueing card until I had him standing on the table. I was surprised by the result. He was occupying real space and, as far as my early question was concerned, what would change? it seemed to me that a lot had. At the very least the little guy opened up some possibilities which, in the two years since then, I have begun to explore.
This work gathered in this exhibition shows some of the results.
John studied at Oxford University’s Ruskin School of Fine Art and Drawing. After graduating with distinction in 1986 he spent his early career in Glasgow, where he worked as a sculptor, lectured in art schools and worked in galleries, before an interest in science and computing propelled John into the games industry where he worked for 15 years, most recently as an art director at Sony.
In 2010 he returned to his own work full time and has continued to reflect upon, and explore the practical opportunities and conceptual implications of digital production for makers. In the process, he paints and builds objects in which traditional formal concerns are framed in the context of the computers half-world, and the notions of representation inevitably collide with those of simulation (the computers lingua franca). Questions of trust and belief are, consequently, never far from his work.
Since returning to his own art he has exhibited in New York, Stockholm, London and Miami amongst other places.