A Thousand Lights of Sun brings together works spanning six decades of Ed Clark’s artistic career. The exhibition, Clark’s first institutional solo show in Los Angeles, focuses on two distinct spheres of the artist’s practice—his formal and technical contributions to abstract painting and his work’s relationship to site, traced through a series of pieces produced in different locales in which the artist has lived or worked. Born in the segregated South and raised in Chicago, Clark enlisted in the Air Force at the age of 17 at the height of WWII. After serving two years in the South Pacific Clark sought greater opportunities than were available to African-Americans in the US and decided to move to Paris in 1952 with support from the GI Bill. He enrolled in L’Academie de la Grande Chaumiere and it was here that he began to develop a unique technical approach for his abstractions. Clark painted on the floor using an industrial broom, moving the paint across the canvas in sweeping strokes, experimenting with the palpable properties of paint and its effects. Upon his return to the US, he settled in New York City where he continues to live and work. Since the 1970’s, Clark’s largely horizontal works have transformed significantly as he explores more intuitive and sporadic mark-making. He refined his painting techniques and played with the limits of the medium—Clark was one of the first artists to work with shaped canvases. The visceral textures of his early works have changed over the years—the more recent works indexing a passage of time and a transformation of Clark’s own body. Bringing together a wide range of paintings, studies on paper, and monumental unstretched works dating back to the late 1940’s, A Thousand Lights of Sun highlights Clark’s gestural versatility and sheds light on an under-represented but critically important figure of the Abstract Expressionist movement whose contributions continue to inform younger artists working today.
Ed Clark: A Thousand Lights of Sun is organized by The Mistake Room and curated by Cesar Garcia, TMR Director and Chief Curator.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Ed Clark was born in New Orleans in 1926 and raised in Chicago. He attended the School of The Art Institute of Chicago and l’Academie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris. Clark has had notable solo exhibitions at Tilton Gallery, New York (2014); The Art Institute of Chicago (2013); The Pensacola Museum of Art (2007); The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (1980); Donald Judd’s loft (1971); and Brata Gallery (1958), among many others. His was included in Blues for Smoke at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, which traveled to the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York and the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus (2012); Beat Culture and the New America at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, which traveled to the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis and the de Young Museum, San Francisco (1995); and Black Artists: Abstractions at P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, New York (1980), among many others. His many honors include the Legends and Legacy Award from The Art Institute of Chicago and a Painters and Sculptors Grant from The Joan Mitchell Foundation. His work will be featured in Prospect.3: Notes for Now, New Orleans’ international contemporary art biennial (2014). Clark currently lives in New York City.
Special thanks to David Hammons, AC Hudgins, Lauren Hudgins, Alex Marcelo, Melanca Clark, and Tilton Gallery, New York.
Photo Credit: Peter Kirby. Copyright 2014.The Mistake Room Inc.