The Prophet’s Library

The Prophet's Library

Tinney Contemporary presents The Prophet’s Library by African artist Wesley Clark, which is currently ongoing till July 8, 2017.

Wesley Clark’s work focuses on the issues faced by African-Americans and the African diaspora. He explores race, politics, and history using various tactile materials. Clark describes The Prophet’s Library as a narratively driven collection of artifacts. His previous show at Tinney Contemporary offered pieces made mostly from wood, but this new work experiments with resin sculpture, mixed media printmaking, and painting.

Each piece is heavily manipulated to appear as though it were a time-worn object, found and appropriated as art. As a true storyteller, Clark uses both subtle and overt symbolism to relay his message. He intends for his use of “real unicorn horns, large anatomical hearts, and unearthed sarcophagi” among other things, to galvanize the viewer to develop their own narrative. Like the materials comprising each work, the conversation they encourage is densely layered.

With an expansion into new materials, metal and resin, I’ve found a material contrast for the wood that suits my subject matter and aids in my narrations. Furthermore, these works directly engage my love for words and their power. When combined, these pieces make for a very literate show; where words take centre stage alongside their visual co-stars. (A personal feat, as I’ve been chasing phrases attempting to capture them and convert them fully to imagery.) The phrase, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” holds true, yet my focus here is how a word creates a thousand pictures. With this in mind, I’ve dialled in both elements and fine-tuned their frequencies to coexist, complement, and fuel one another to further reach my audience. 

“I aim for The Prophet’s Library to be an experience of exhalations for Black American viewers; and for them to feel comfortable, and comforted when viewing this work. For other viewers I offer a glimpse at the complexity and reality of being a Black American in this country, with the goal of being moved to consider their position in all of the subject matter presented.” -Wesley Clark

Wesley Clark lives and works in Hyattsville, Maryland. He holds a bachelor of fine art degree from Syracuse University and a master of fine art degree from the George Washington University. Clark has exhibited works severally including the Blueberry Art Gallery, Alexandria, Virginia(2010);  Sacred Reflections, David C. Driskell Center, University of Maryland (2011); Fresh Perspectives,  Hillyer Art Space, Washington DC (2012); Living and Working, Civilian Art Projects, Washington DC (2013); Prizm Art Fair, Miami (2014); Topography, Tinney Contemporary, Nashville (2015); Lest We Forget, Galerie Myrtis, Baltimore (2016). He is part of the artist collective, Delusions of Grandeur, a group of emerging artists focused on providing critique and commentary on social infrastructures within the American society, while contributing to the prominence of the collective black voice and presence within contemporary art.

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