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Feb. 28, 2013

Wild animals don human faces

Clark combines sculpting, mammal taxidermy to evoke original work

By Aziza Doleh

Photo By Aziza Doleh

The work is part animal, part human and part taxidermy; the sculptures by artist Kate Clark are visually theatrical.
“Ceremony” by the artist Kate Clark is featured at Galleries at Cleveland State.
Brooklyn sculptor Kate Clark visited The Galleries at Cleveland State University to discuss her piece that is featured in the “Animatopeia” exhibit among her other artworks at the art gallery.
The piece featured at the gallery was originally made to be in conversation with another artwork, which was a hunter. The piece is made up of the hide of the animal traditionally done by taxidermy along with foam, clay and pins.
Clark’s pieces are traditionally from a concept she learned in art school.
“It came from when I was in graduate school doing conceptual work,” Clark said.
“I did use a lot of natural materials,” Clark said. “I was reading about what made the human face so commutative and why animals didn’t really have the features to evolve and have the ability to be at a level to communicate with society.”
Each artist featured in the Animatopeia exhibit had their unique inspiration for their work.
Clark was no different.
“My work is mostly conceptual so I’ve included figurative and conceptual and when you look at the work you feel a familiarity. You feel comfortable with the face and very uncomfortable at the same time. It’s not two contrasting things. You’re standing there and you have both emotions at the same time. That gives people a real primal reaction to the work.”
The works of Clark have many thinking about the mythology, futurism, Darwinism and even evolution.
Clark believes her work speaks volumes about our relationship with animals, especially mammals because we are closest to them. It speaks to how we are living as a society and there being a huge separation between human and animals.
She brings us closer to them with her choice of using mammal taxidermy and her family’s faces as the faces featured on her sculptures.
Her exhibits are throughout the United States; her work is gathered internationally and is in public assortments such as the David Roberts Art Foundation in London and the C-Collection in Switzerland.
Clark attended Cornell University for her BFA and Cranbrook Academy of Art for her MFA. She has been awarded fellowships from the Jentel Artists Residency in Wyoming, The Fine Arts Work Center Residency in Provincetown, Mass. and the Marie Walsh Sharpe Studio Program in New York.
She currently resides in Brooklyn, N.Y. where she does most of her studio work.
Her sculptures have been featured in the New York Times, New York Magazine, Art21:Blog, The Village Voice, PAPERmag, The Atlantic, NYArts, Arte Mondadori, Hi Fructose, the BBC World News Brazil, Hey! Magazine, as well as many other publications.
Clark’s “Ceremony” will continue to be featured at The Galleries until March 2.