Although a native Houstonian, fine art photographer Stephanie Anne Clark just recently moved back to Texas after spending three years in Rochester, NY where she received her Masters of Fine Arts in Imaging Arts from the Rochester Institute of Technology. While in Rochester, Clark began her series The Specter of Nature, a selection of work comprised of photographs, decorative materials, and digital media to create hybrid images that move beyond the photograph. The whimsical nature of Clark’s images is a result of a playful layering of topics such as visual culture, storytelling, religion, feminism, and psychology. Using light and shadow as symbols of hope and potential, she creates spaces where figures and forms merge and emerge; much like the human experience where the known and the unknown, the real and the unreal, are investigated within the murky depths of the subconscious.
The Specter of Nature series will make its first appearance here in Houston at Spacetaker’s ARC Gallery before it moves to the Fort Worth Community Arts Center in late 2011.
ST: What is your biggest inspiration as an artist?
SAC: What inspires me the most is really believing that life is a magical experience, the more I embrace this belief, the more I see this construct of ‘magic’ transcribed on the materials produced within our culture.
ST: Describe your artistic process.
SAC: My process is one of manual manipulation, where I begin investigating materials in a physical manner by cutting and placing them in relation to one another with the hope of discovering something new. The other half of my process is the technical side of my imagery. During this aspect of my process, I spend time using light to create unexpected silhouettes and expose characteristics of the materials. Technically, I also focus on creating prints that push and pull at the idea of the photographic image, working on the subtle detailing of the shadows and the vibrant colors of the highlights to create images that reference a sort of theatrical illustration.
ST: Who or what has been the most influential to your work?
SAC: I’d say as a young artist, one of the most influential experiences I had during my artistic development was discovering Louise Nevelson through a documentary presented during class. At the time, I was astonished by her strength of presence and her stubborn attitude. In addition, her work introduced me to the transformative nature of art making. There have been numerous influences since, but that particular moment of discovery is still pivotal.
ST: What’s your favorite part of being an artist in Houston?
SAC: My favorite part about being an artist in Houston has been the great support I’ve received from the artistic community during my time working here. I’ve always felt welcomed and encouraged to continue producing artwork. Driving down Main St., one can easily see how versatile Houston’s art scene is and how the city itself has embraced the full spectrum of creative forms.
Stephanie Anne Clark’s series of work, The Specter of Nature will be on exhibition January 1 – 29 at Spacetaker’s ARC Gallery located at Winter Street Studios (2101 Winter St). Opening Reception on Saturday, January 8 from 5 to 7 p.m. Free. For more information about the artist, visit www.stephanieanneclark.com.