Object of the Week: Everson Museum, by Horace Clark
Horace Clark (1911-1995) studied art around the country, at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, the Designers Art School in Boston, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the University of Arizona, where he received his bachelor’s degree in 1946. That same year, Clark accepted a teaching position in the School of Art at Syracuse University. He moved to Syracuse with his wife, painter and ceramist Mary Andersen, and taught painting for twenty-nine years before retiring in 1975. Clark was best known for his semi-abstract figurative works. Whether painting single figures or groups before ambiguous backgrounds or in landscapes and cityscapes, Clark believed in the importance of color over subject matter. He noted in 1958, “I am influenced by the subject but its color possibilities are of primary importance. I am concerned with limited colors, various ranges of colors and sometimes planned color keys. The paintings, then, are my color translations of known appearances.” In his quest to explore color relationships, Clark often used enamel paints, a challenging medium that produced more vibrant color tones than other materials. Clark’s interest in color translated into a new series of paintings he began in the mid-1970s. Called “name paintings” by the artist, these works featured names arranged into geometric patterns on canvas. Clark used acrylic paints for this series, which dried faster than enamel and oil paints and allowed him to achieve flatter plans of color with minimal evidence of brushstrokes. Painted over a three-month period between November 1979 and January 1980, Everson Museum is one of Clark’s largest name paintings. Using blocks of blue, black, and white paint, Clark spelled “Everson” across a massive, twelve-foot tall canvas. He painted Everson Museum in honor of Ron Kuchta, who served as the Everson’s director from 1975 until 1995. Clark exhibited his work at the Everson frequently throughout his career, both in regional exhibitions and solo shows. Everson Museum is currently on view in the exhibition Art Within Art: The Everson at 50, through January 20, 2019.
-Steffi Chappell, Curatorial Assistant