Patterson Clark, author and illustrator of The Washington Post’s Urban Jungle natural history column, creates works that are intimately connected to the natural environment. Clark’s papers, prints, inks, and frames are all sourced from local invasive plant species, most of which are harvested from Whitehaven Park in The District, which borders the artist’s home.
After gaining a permit from the National Park Service to remove invasives, Clark began to collect non-native species such as English ivy, white mulberry, garlic mustard, and bush honeysuckle. At some point his approach shifted from one of eradication to one of repurposing, a kind of natural upcycling. Clark experimented with his harvested materials to coax textured paper, inks in a remarkable array of colors, and intricate frames for his art.
Perhaps best known for his exquisite prints, Clark has recently been creating “weed shrines” that encase a print, or a natural object, in an elaborate, multifaceted frame constructed entirely of invasive woods. This exhibition, opening in tandem with GRACE’s Patrick Dougherty exhibition, presents an intimate selection of Clark’s recent shrine works. According to the artist, “The pieces will be inspired by Italian edicole, plural for edicola, a small shrine designed to house a sacred element. Edicola is also the term used for newsstand. These pieces will be blending both meanings, sanctifying the common, the disposable, the mass-produced, the printed, the weed.”
Opening Reception: April 25, 5:00-8:00pm
Image credit: Patterson Clark, 12 Foot Note (detail), 2012