Kate Clark: Mysterious Presence

  • Duration
    January 20 – April 10, 2016

  • Works by
    Kate Clark
  • Curated By
    Monica Ramirez-Montagut

New York City-based Kate Clark (1972- ) uses the centuries-old craft of taxidermy to sculpt humanlike faces onto bestial forms. Her hybridized sculptures are at once familiar yet strange, insinuating primal similarities linking the animal kingdom and examining humans’ place within the natural world.

Her sculptures’ strong presence also ironically evokes a sort of absence, rendering the figures aloof and mysterious. Clark notes, “They seem to be looking at the viewer but their gaze goes beyond.” Nonetheless, Clark’s forms directly confront us, encouraging and challenging our willingness to accept difference.”

Often working with live models and using a polymer clay, Clark creates realistic faces for her figures and then applies sections of shaved hide to match the animal’s skin to the human fascia thus facilitating the inter-species transformation. Yet, she fastens sections using generic sewing pins, making visible her process and acknowledging the artifice of the work. By using real animal pelts, Clark presents us with something steeped in the real: a figure of unbelievable natural beauty and, conversely, a believable chimera.

Clark’s sculptures have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, New York Magazine, Art21:Blog, The Village Voice, PAPERmag, The Atlantic, NYArts, Huffington Post, Hi Fructose, the BBC World News Brazil, Hey! Magazine, Time Out, ID Paris, Cool Hunting, Wallpaper, and many other publications. Kate’s work is the cover image for art ltd. magazine, November/December 2014.

This exhibition is funded in part through the generous support of the Newcomb College Institute.

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