Biography 

Clarke’s fine art work is created using a range of mediums. Oil paints, pastels, and pencil were his main tools for many years. A series of fifteen large pieces were displayed in the Latchis Theatre in Brattleboro, Vermont in 2007, and since then in several other galleries. They were inspired by a neoclassical piece of music called Alina by the Estonian composer Arvo Part. The Alina series exemplifies his style and use of color, line, and shape. In an article in the on-line journal Rural Intelligence, associate editor Nichole Dupont called him a “multimedia abstract master.”  Earlier, in 2002, Clarke started scanning pressed flowers through a now-outdated color printer. The results, what he called Flower, Stain, and Fingerprint, were a novel type of botanical illustration, which cannot be recreated, as newer printers do not produce the same effects. Also, around 2002 Clarke stopped riding freight trains and realized he hadn’t documented the incredible journeys and places he had discovered. So he bought a camera and started exploring railroad tracks and train yards to capture some of those memories. At that time Clarke was interested in sharply focused images, describing his desire for sharpness as wanting to feel the rust in his photos. In 2012, his tripod broke. During an autumn hike Clarke headed out without his tripod and produced images with accidental blur. The trails of light and color appealed to the abstract line painter in him and changed the way he thought about photography. The experience established a new course for him as a visual artist. A year later, Clarke discovered the iPhone and has become an accomplished iPhone photographer and teacher, helping his students capture and process images with a unique, painterly feel. 

Clarke continues to push the camera to its limits, translating photographic images into other mediums. Painting with light, his works are often mistakenly viewed as pastel or charcoal drawings. Long exposures and gestural movements blur the distinction between art forms. There is often a tension in his work between what is revealed and what is obscured. This has been with him since the beginning when he started painting and is revisited in alternative ways again and again. He is driven to create images that are purely personal, diffusing and abstracting the world around him in the hopes that they will spark an unknown journey into aesthetic, emotional and spiritual territories. He calls it “looking through the curtain.” The creation of an image holds the excitement of unlimited potential.  


Pastel Light Artist’s Statement

There’s a spiritual aspect that under lies the landscape of western New England. I’ve felt its tug for many years, sensed it in certain places,in certain light. In this body of work, I’m trying to capture and share this powerful, mysterious quality. Using low light, long exposuresand subtle, gestural movements of the camera, my photographs become pastel-like images that blur away the specifics of a scene, taking the ordinary and imbuing it with a heightened, almost archetypal quality. The camera becomes a tool, a divining rod, able to reflect the world around us in a way our eyes alone cannot perceive. It peels away the mundane, bucolic surface and provides us a glimpse of a deeply emotional and spiritual nature.


Exhibitions

2019 – Drawing on Memory, Stockbridge Station, Stockbridge, MA (solo exhibition) 

           Red Lion Inn exhibition (summer residency), Stockbridge, MA 

           Juried Exhibition, Becket Arts Center, Becket, MA 

           Beneath the Surface, 6 Bridges Gallery, Maynard, MA 

           The Edge Effect, Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, NY 

           BerkshireNow, Berkshire Museum, Pittsfield, MA (solo) 

2018 – Lyrical, Sohn Fine Art, Lenox, MA (solo) 

          Meshes, Geoff Young Gallery, Great Barrington, MA 

          The Art of the Hills, Berkshire Museum, Pittsfield, MA 

          True North, Labspace, Hillsdale, NY 

          Photography as Impressionism, The Dot, Pittsfield, MA 

          White as Snow, Sohn Fine Art, Lenox, MA 

2017 – Into the Woods, Sohn Fine Art, Lenox, MA 

          Seeds, Sohn Fine Art, Lenox, MA 

          Wild Berkshires, The Stationery Factory, Dalton, MA 

          10 x 10, The Berkshire Museum, Pittsfield, MA 

2016 – The Bridge, Geoff Young Gallery, Great Barrington, MA (solo) 

           iMotif, Sohn Fine Art, Lenox, MA 

           Midwinter Night’s Dream, Good Purpose Gallery, Lee, MA 

2015 – Orrin’s Ladder, Six Depot Gallery, West Stockbridge, MA (solo) 

2014 – Rurbansim, Sohn Fine Art, Lenox, MA 

           A View of the Village, Little Gallery, Housatonic, MA (solo) 

2013 –  Nude, Sohn Fine Art, Lenox, MA 

2011 – Untitled Drawings, Joyce Goldstein Gallery, Chatham, NY (solo) 

2009 – 15 Years, Geoff Young Gallery, Great Barrington, MA (solo) 

2008 – Alina, Latchis Theater, Brattleboro, VT (solo) 


Website: www.theartofjohnclarke.com

Email: theartofjohnclarke@gmail.com