Media - Pastel Drawings
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
John Clarke was born in Harare, Zimbabwe in 1946. He spent part of his childhood in Barberton and was educated in Johannesburg and Pretoria - University of the Witwatersrand, BA (Fine Arts) 1968; University of Pretoria, MA (Fine Arts) 1981. He lectured at the University of Pretoria and the University of South Africa, and is now working independently as an artist and teacher based at his studio/gallery in Pretoria. Clarke has been exhibiting work on paper since 1973 using pencil, pen, pastel, and intaglio and digital printing processes. His enduring interest has been in the landscape, supported by his strong interest in the history and pre-history of man in southern Africa.
John Clarke has participated in major group exhibitions of work by South African artists in France, Chile, the USA, Germany and South Africa and is represented in most of the major public collections in South Africa. Since 1975 he has held ten solo exhibitions in Pretoria, Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban and London including a retrospective exhibition at the Pretoria Art Museum in 1992 entitled "The Stones Revisited".
At the University of the Witwatersrand in the 1960's Clarke studied under Guiseppe Cataneo, Robert Hodgins and Cecily Sash. In the 1970's workshop sessions with the Rorke's Drift artists Eric Mbata and Hugh Nolutshungu strongly influenced his approach to intaglio printmaking. He was particularly inspired, in the early 1980's, by the painted stone garden created by the self-taught "Outsider" artist Nukain Mabusa in Mpumalanga. The landscape paintings of the American artists Edward Hopper and Georgia O' Keefe were also formative influences.
Clarke's earlier work consists mainly of black and white intaglio prints and drawings. In more recent years he has focused on pastel as his primary medium of expression, using it for its tonal and mark-making possibilities. He has also begun using an inkjet printer and particular software tools to create computer-generated images.
In his work John Clarke attempts to convey particular qualities he has found in the landscape; juxtaposing images of man-made structures with organic forms, the imagined with the observed. He has evolved travel rituals which allow him to access visual material and to observe the ongoing metamorphosis of the southern African landscape. These have become repeated experiences, such as crossing borders, following trails and routes and identifying landmarks and 'manmarks'. The drive-in theatre, mining activity, and the domestic structures and artifacts of past and present inhabitants of the land, as well as the vastness of the Kalahari desert have been formative influences.
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