050418-art-Art and Soul image

Fracture or fix?

Perhaps because of the horrifically schismatic times we now occupy, Scott Clark’s Come Find Me in Your Dreams, because of its chromatic and other details, may well prompt a first-glance metallurgical descent into simplistic dichotomy.

That is, Clark’s painting (a 48- by 24-inch oil on wood created last year) rather resembles a dangerous breach in the hull of a destroyer or some other seacraft – or perhaps an emergency weld to heal such a breach.

Only an artistic tyro, of course, would fail to recognize as a blunder the casual imposition of a representational “meaning” on an abstract work. At a minimum, though, the oneiric title of Come Find Me in Your Dreams seems more than a little suggestive, with the painting as hazy as any dreamscape awaiting a pseudo-soothing jolt of Freud’s sekundäre ẞearbeitung (“secondary revision”).

“All my pieces are developed over several months,” Clark relates regarding the painstaking creation of Come Find Me in Your Dreams and his other paintings. “I take between four to five months to add up to 60 layers of transparent oil paint built up over the top of one another. Each layer adds depth, texture and dimension. Once the piece is completed, it’ll dry for another six to nine months. Each painting, no matter the size, is a one-year process.”

A separate artist statement from Clark expands on that comment: “My most recent work from the past eight years examines the relationships we have with one another, our surroundings and ourselves. My paintings are a journey of feelings and experiences. …

“Each layer is a representation of the complexity of human needs and desires. And each layer takes the painting in a new direction, allowing its story to unfold. With an undetermined ending, every painting’s journey is exciting and real for me. This process allows me the opportunity to discover the truth within the painting.”

Clark (a Belleville native) lives with his wife and son in Columbia, Illinois, where he hones his artwork. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Webster Groves’ Webster University, two master’s degrees from St. Charles’ Lindenwood University and, finally, a doctoral degree (in educational leadership) from Creve Coeur’s Maryville University.

Beyond his painting, Clark’s ongoing teaching and administrative experience has predominantly focused on the Mehlville area of south St. Louis County.

Ultimately, if accidentally, the artist revisits the likely spurious abstract-representational dichotomy mentioned previously.

Come Find Me in Your Dreams can take on various meanings, depending on the viewer,” Clark says. “For many, their first impression of the piece and its title may lead one to imagine a person making a connection with another in our most peaceful of environments, our dreams – while others can imagine it’s one’s search for identity and ultimate perfection.

“I intentionally leave my work open to interpretation. I want the audience to draw upon their own experiences when viewing one of my pieces, to find their own meaning.” 

To learn more about our featured artist, visit scottclarkartwork.com.

St. Louis-area artists who wish to be considered for future installments of this monthly department of Ladue News should email inquiries to bhollerbach@laduenews.com with “Art and Soul” in the subject line.

Bryan A. Hollerbach serves as LN's copy editor and one of its staff writers. He loves to read, write, impersonate an amateur artist and research all things bibulous.