Nate Clark


May 23 – June 23


Saturday, June 24 @ 4-6pm


June 27 – July 29


Saturday, July 29 @ 12-2pm


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In his MadArt exhibition (In)Form, Vashon-based artist Nate Clark employed laborious methods of creation to ground the viewer within their physical self. Pulling inspiration from broad fields of study, such as architecture, animal behavioral science, literature, and the minimalist art movement, (In)Form reflected the deep research that drives Clark’s creative inquiry and process-oriented approach. Cedar sculptures, original audio compositions, beeswax, and hand-carded, spun, and woven wool combined to create a multisensory experience. Engaging viewers’ senses of smell, touch, sight, and hearing, Clark aimed to foster mindfulness and bodily presence in relation to his works. This intention reflected his relationship to his creative practice, which he considered a mechanism to establish patience and tolerance within himself.

Upon entering the studio, visitors were confronted with the pastoral aroma of wood and wool. Three Alaskan cedar domes, ranging in diameter from seven to ten feet, were strategically positioned in relation to one another and within the studio to enhance or immobilize specific sounds. These works were a continuation of Clark’s solo exhibition, Squinch (4Culture, 2022), which featured his first hand-formed wooden dome. This piece, reimagined at MadArt Studio, spanned seven feet in diameter and produced unforeseen sonic qualities when first exhibited. At MadArt, Clark expanded on this fortuitous discovery by creating additional domes and working with sound artist Rose Martin to amplify and respond to the sculptural and material elements of the show. Martin, a Doctoral student of Musical Arts at the University of Washington, studied decolonization in classical music spaces as well as emotional labor within paid artistic settings. For this collaboration, she utilized an embodied music making approach, incorporating field recordings and close-mic sampling to build sonic layers that mimic Clark’s intention to center the senses and return to the body. 

In contrast to the cedar bowls, several large textile works displayed a range of material processes. The central piece was a suspended sculpture made of wool batting which hung from floor-to-ceiling, bisecting the studio and dampening transmittable sound. A 12-foot-long cedar tunnel allowed visitors to move through the wool curtain, bending at a 30 degree angle at the center to intentionally disrupt one’s full view through the pathway from either end.

(In)Form’s materials and processes can’t be extracted from Clark’s rural life on Vashon Island, where he weathered the pandemic, adapted to a slower daily pace, and reconnected with the land through beekeeping, gardening, and processing wool from local farmers. The inception of this exhibition dates back to early 2020 when Clark, like many others, was experiencing the societal, historical, and environmental traumas of our current world more acutely than ever before. These joining circumstances led the artist to turn towards his practice and create work that promotes contemplative space, patience, and tolerance through meticulous and laborious making. Through such methods, Clark made a connection between somatic awareness and therapeutic healing practices that he hoped would translate to the viewer and offer a sense of presence and ease.

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Photo by James Harnois