Wesley Clark

Artist Statement

Scientists say that every time we recall a memory we are in fact re-creating that memory - altering it, making the memory more self-centered - while history, by some definitions, is the effort to establish a "true memory". So can a true history exist if no true memory can be made?

This question provides the basis of my aesthetic and use of invented narratives to create fictional artifacts. The narratives I create play a "Question and Answer" role in my process and dictate the markings made. For example, I may ask myself, "Why is the paint peeling off? Was this gouge from an axe or a rock?" The answer, "This object was abandoned in an area that over time became the hangout for groups of teenagers. They harass the paint, throw bottles and rocks at it, marring the surface." This "Question and Answer" role of narrative guides my aesthetic choices; I weather, distress and ‚"age" the objects as it coincides with the developing narrative. In the context of the gallery, this aesthetic is intended to make the viewer think "antique", and speculate as to how the object was used, its history and value. However, it is not important that my narrative comes across to the viewer nor am I interested in fooling the viewer into thinking these objects are originals. I simply want to construct objects that viewers imagine as having a history - a history that never existed - while in the context of the gallery.

The foundation of the work is to challenge and draw parallels between historical and contemporary cultural issues. My primary focus surrounds blacks in America and the African Diaspora. I examine the psyche of young black males feeling like a target and being targeted. I question tradition or the lack of tradition and the role it plays on ones values today. Objects that are antiques or antiqued are associated with historical relevance and wealth. By placing these issues in an antiqued object I am establishing the value in furthering a discussion around a particular issue. Analyzing historic and present social and economic disparities are what shape my conceptual process.

Consideration of materials occurs as I invent the object's life and history. The materials are selected as a means to tell the story and chosen for their accessibility and workability. New materials, such as plywood, clue the viewer in to the modernity of the work and that they are on stage. These material clues support a fictitious narrative prompting the viewer to work through their own invented narrative.

Bio 

Wesley Clark grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland, and currently resides in Hyattsville, Maryland. He received his BFA from Syracuse University in 2001 and his MFA from George Washington University in 2012. Clark has been exhibiting his works since 2003 showing in Washington D.C., Baltimore, New York, Chicago, Atlanta, and Philadelphia. His works can be found in collections here in the US as well as Germany and Japan.

Education

2012    George Washington University, Studio Arts, MFA

2001    Syracuse University, Painting, BFA

2000    Participant in Division of International Study Abroad Program, Florence, Italy

Selected Exhibitions

2015   Topography, group exhibition, Tinney Contemporary, Nashville, TN

          Power, Protest, & Resistance: The Art of Revolution, group exhibition, Skylight Gallery, Brooklyn, NY

          How We Lost DC, group exhibition, Honfleur Gallery, Washington, DC            

          My Big Black America, group exhibition, Corridor Gallery, Brooklyn, NY

2014   Prizm Art Fair, group exhibition, Miami FL

          ManMade, group exhibition, Gallery Plan B, Washington, DC

          Emergence 2014: International Artists to Watch, group exhibition, Galerie Myrtis, Baltimore, MD

          General Public, group exhibition, Gallery Plan B, Washington, DC

2013   Living and Working, group exhibition, Civilian Art Projects, Washington, DC

          Human Ecology, group exhibition, The Gallery @ Community College Baltimore County, Catonsville, MD

          Crowns, group exhibition, The Fridge, Washington, DC

          Sondheim Artscape Prize Semi-Finalist Exhibition, group exhibition, Meyerhoff Gallery (MICA), Baltimore, MD

          Targets & Goals, solo exhibition, Civilian Art Projects, Washington, DC

          Homage to Harriet, group exhibition, Reginald F. Lewis Museum, Baltimore, MD

          No Strings Attached, group exhibition, 39th Street Gallery, Brentwood, MD

2012   Fresh Perspectives, group exhibition, Hillyer Art Space, Washington, DC

          Academy, group exhibition, Conner Contemporary, Washington, DC

          Constructs: Thesis Exhibition, solo exhibition, George Washington University, Washington, DC

2011   Biennial Maryland Regional Juried Art Exhibit, group exhibition, University of Maryland University College, College Park, MD

          Sacred Reflections, group exhibition, David C. Driskell Center, University of Maryland, College Park, MD

2010   Solo Exhibition, Blueberry Art Gallery, Alexandria, Virginia 

2009   SU in DC, group exhibition, International Visions Gallery, Washington, DC

          Mixed Messages, group exhibition, International Visions Gallery, Washington, DC

          May Day / Global Politics, group exhibition, Art Whino Gallery, Ft. Washington, MD

          Just Responding to the Spirit, group exhibition, Gallery Guichard, Chicago, IL    

          Stars and Stripes: Pride and Hope Reinterpreted, group exhibition, The Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery, Washington, DC

2008   Stars and Stripes: Pride or Despair, group exhibition, Galerie Myrtis, Baltimore, MD

          The Funk Aesthetic: Chocolate Coated Freaky & Habit Forming, group exhibition, H&F Fine Arts Gallery, Mount Rainier, MD

           Solo Exhibition, Blueberry Art Gallery, Alexandria, VA

           Location Baltimore: Giving Birth to Dreams, group exhibition, Baltimore, MD

2007   Civil Rights - Civil Wrongs, group exhibition, Just Lookin' Gallery, Hagerstown, MD

          Art of the Emerging, group exhibition, Galerie Myrtis, Washington, DC

          East of the River, group exhibition, Honfleur Gallery, Washington DC 

2006   A City View, solo exhibition, Jennings Gallery, Washington DC

2005   MX80 Exhibition & Auction - a fine art contemplation of the life and legacy of Malcolm X, The Brecht Forum Gallery, Chelsea, NY

2004   Ancient Traditions Contemporary Forms, Group Exhibit, The Embassy of the Republic of Ghana, Washington, DC

          Coming Home, Solo Exhibit, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library, Washington, DC