Seth Clark is in focus for our Art Watch for today. This section is brought to you by Art From Us and Divvya Nirula. The Artists we spotlight here can be from any field, across any discipline, and using a variety of media. We share here why we think they are important and worth watching. Be it genius creators of eras gone by. Or the upcoming contemporary artist who is yet to have their first show. All come under the purview of Art Watch.
A dilapidated structure, looks like it has weathered several storms. And yet it is held together tightly – by the idea that once was behind its creation. A closer look reveals the incredible detailing that has gone into the ruin. And it is directly proportionate to the amount of detailing that it was invested with when it was complete. This is the work of Seth Clark. His collages show a chaos and his skill lies in the mastering of the art of collage. He creates disorder as a way to tell us the story of the collapse. What is poignant is that in a post-apocalyptic world, one can still recognize the traces of human presence.
This artist grew up in Seekonk, Massachusetts and went to university in Providence at the Rhode Island School of Design. Earning his BFA in Graphic Design, he works in the field of print design and alternative typography. While studying, he was mesmerised by the world of collage and the possibilities that it offered. It was the method of spatial development which became a major force in his digital work as well as his physical works on wood and paper.
Owing to his training in the field of technical design, his creations move between the sculptural and the graphic. Seth has fun with the concept of dimension through his creation of huge architectural structures which are based on and mimic flat graphic patterns. The using of natural materials like wood and other media is a deliberate attempt by Clark to have a dialogue about space, and the interaction therewith.
Seth Clark’s work turns the focus sharply on the fact that spaces are decorated or dilapidated celebrate or abandon spaces. His works, for me, ask us – how we feel? Talking about this work, Clark states on his website – “My work focuses on deteriorating architecture. I see an inherent honesty in the face of my subject. These man-made structures, designed to be huge forces of permanence, are now collapsing in on themselves. Among all of the clutter—the shards of wood and layers of rubble—there remains a gentle resolve.”
Why Seth Clark?
Clark’s work actually showcases an important dialogue between Restoration and Conservation. Structures are organic and suffer time. The acts of ‘Restoration’ gives them a cosmetic facelift, removing the trace of the passage of time. It is not very different than a person who wants to look younger.
Conservation, however is the acceptance of whatever happened to a building. Conservation preserves the structure and prevents further degradation of, but leaves the building otherwise the same.
“I see an inherent honesty in the face of my subject. These man-made structures, designed to be huge forces of permanence, are now collapsing in on themselves. Among all of the clutter—the shards of wood and layers of rubble—there remains a gentle resolve. It is as if the buildings were content with their circumstance. As I work, I study these structures incessantly. They are on the brink of ruin, yet appear dignified in their state. Something very energized and present is trying to escape out of a slow history of abandonment.” says Seth Clark, who seems to, through his work capture a fourth dimension of time, and register its passing.
Hugely inspired by Pittsburgh itself and the beautiful building, his creations reflect the decay that the structures are facing. Clark’s collages are well balanced and while they are making a case – they state what they set out to, without pretending to provide solutions. They honestly seem to frame in time. the conditions that, as architects and residents of the deeper spaces of the city, see repeatedly: abandoned buildings and deterioration. His collages are hyper-realistic, and he has mastered his technique.
For more Artists handpicked by Divvya Nirula – explore the ART WATCH archive.