reviews & essays

recent works of ron clark

The appearances of [Clark’s] image-making are elaborations in finite form that recall infinite transformation and metamorphosis. The artist’s design genius seems to subconsciously fuse together an array of forms and tonalities which embody, in pictorial form, his speculations on transpositions between the symbolic and the imaginary....driven through with ambiguity and harmonious dis-equilibrium. It is out of such concerns that the visual poetry in Ron Clark’s work emerges.

Yet the tactile flair and sumptuous surfaces are only part of the reason one takes notice of such works. The considerable skill of the artist lies in two realms: The first is in his elusive capacity to generate a sense of potential onto the pictorial plane. Enigma is the result; a bountiful, inexplicable and bedeviling component that lurks always at the core of great art.

Dominique Nahas, NY art critic, Art in America magazine

the impending presence of ron clark

Abstract Expressionists such as Rothko, Newman and others long ago conditioned us to the idea of a painting as a field which could stand for infinite space and thus the cosmos or other nameless aspects of the sublime. Clark is here now, with incredibly rich and moody paintings of remarkable texture and luminosity. Whereas other of his works sharply prodded the viewer to take their measure, these new paintings seduce and envelop; they work through nuance. Further, Clark has entered into the area of ‘beauty,’ a difficult concept for modern viewers. The fact of their ‘drop dead’ beauty lends to these paintings a bracing tension.

William Zimmer, art critic and essayist, The New York Times

observations from L.A.

Trained in graphic design, architecture and music – as well as fine art – Ron Clark brings skill and sensitivity as a visual and spatial ‘composer’ to his paintings, whether figurative or abstract, hard- or soft-edged, shadowy or luminous. He plays with light – its reflectivity, its obscurity, its brilliance – to bring out details the eye would otherwise miss and to imply states of being such as attraction, repulsion, stillness, motion, even reason or impulse. There exists a delicate balance in this new work, not just between the definite and the indistinct, the precisely-edged and nebulous, but also of the known world and the unknown.

Peter Frank, editor, Senior Curator, Riverside (CA) Museum of Art

from massachusetts avenue

Ron Clark has accomplished something very difficult in the world of modern art: Developing a highly original process of oil painting using traditional mediums and perfecting the technique to a point that it becomes virtually impossible to decipher. His works are not simply ‘color fields;’ the multi-layered canvases possess an inner depth and radiance one must experience personally to grasp. This unique luminescence and a broad range of surface textures result in works of simply unparalleled effect.

Shawn Miller, Director, 4Star Gallery, Indianapolis, IN

notes from the hamptons

Though I have known Ron Clark’s family for three generations and him all his life, my familiarity with his work occurred slowly and deliberately, as knowing an artist personally does not automatically make one aware of the impact or message of that artist's work. Alexander Calder, whom I befriended in 1949, was a stout, overweight, earth-bound creature who seemingly had nothing whimsical or 'mobile' about him; Rene Magritte, a friend of mine in both Paris and Brussels in the early 60's, was an ultra-conservative bourgeois who painted many of his magical and inexplicable pieces in a rather formal upstairs guest bedroom, his easel on a plastic drop cloth.

I find myself similarly surprised and taken by the thought process and mental secrets from which Ron's work emerges. He skillfully abstracts his visionary ideas into masterfully painted canvases, though the magic behind his art defies definition and eludes explanation. I also rather imagine he doesn’t really give a damn whether we like the results or not. Thus if there are those who do not understand or comprehend his work now, it matters little; those of another generation will. Or as the French say, tant pis; either we get it or we don’t.

Harold Stevenson, artist/novelist, The Hamptons, NY