Ms R Louise Clarke

Job: Senior Lecturer, Fine Art

Faculty: Arts, Design and Humanities

School/department: School of Visual and Performing Arts

Research group(s): Fine Art Practice Group

Address: The Gateway, De Montfort University (DMU), Leicester, UK, LE1 9BH

T: n/a

E: lclarke@dmu.ac.uk

W: dmu.ac.uk/vapa

 

Personal profile

Artist/curator/writer Louise Clarke’s art practice embraces a range of media such as print, photography, drawing and recycled and scavenged materials to produce a variety of outcomes including installation, 2D and 3D works, multiples and architectural scale interventions.

These media are deployed in an ongoing interrogation of:

  • the articulation of utopia as a means to satisfiy politics, social relationships, ambition and daydreaming
  • the primal landscape as a blueprint throughout our lives, silently influencing our engagement with landscape and architecture
  • the ‘feral’ as a way of working and as a subject matter: our battle to control nature’s encroachment in both the physical and primal emotional realms.

Her specialisms are printmaking and drawing, in their widest application, as equally valid platforms with which to address and engage current visual art practices, debates and research.

A recent (December 2015) curatorial output was :Xenotopia, a group exhibition of 14 artists including Turner Prize winner Grayson Perry and DMU alumni Theo Miller (artists: Emily Allchurch, Amba Sayal-Bennett, Berenika Boberska, Pablo Bronstein, Rachel Clewlow, Noémie Goudal, Sarah Anne Johnson, Katherine Jones, Catriona Leahy, Theo Miller, Paul Noble, Grayson Perry, David Price and Jenny Wiener). :Xenotopia was a wide-ranging creative audit of ‘out-of-place places’, particularly strange, fictitious architecture and ‘xenospaces’, imagined, meta-geographic locations that exist only theoretically, ethereally or subconsciously. ‘Xenotopia’ is a term coined by British writer Robert McFarlane to describe an uncanny landscape. Xeno is the Greek word for ‘other’, or that which is ‘different in origin’, while topia is the suffix deployed by Thomas Moore in his 1516 book, Utopia – a work of political philosophy manifested through the depiction of a fictionalized island society.

Through the expanded medium of print, each of the artists showing in :Xenotopia offered their own unique explorations and visualisations of similarly fictional but redolent places of psycho-geographic ambiguity or putative architectural fantasy. The works displayed a range of, often tangential, anachronistic or merely tenuous connections and approaches to the printmaking medium.

In 2016 Louise was invited to interview noted printmakers on the panel of the Make It Happen symposimum, the brainchild of artist and academic Ruth Sumner in tandem with Leicester Print Workshop, with the aim of interrogating methodology, practice and concept through printmaking.

A passionate advocate of drawing as a universal language, her practice, commentary and curation has been recognised internationally. She has previously led drawing symposia in Slovakia, Ecuador, Russia and Libya supported by the British Council. She has collaborated with artists and architects in drawing-related exhibitions in LA and Chicago and group exhibitions in Finland as well as group and solo exhibitions in the UK.

Louise has co-curated and programmed public art events through the Big Draw campaign since 2000, working with institutions such as the British Museum, The Natural History Museum and the V&A. In a similar role, Louise has worked with English Heritage as lead artist in a range of site-specific art projects.

Her fictional writing and cultural commentary are both a tool for research enquiry and collaboration as well as an explorative medium with which to articulate creative outputs. She writes a regular column in the quarterly The Saatchi Gallery Magazine: Art & Music and was its guest editor for a 2011 issue dedicated to the question ‘Is drawing still relevant?’, synthesising the work and critical thinking of a variety of cultural practitioners in order to survey drawing’s currency. The same year she judged the Saatchi Showdown: Drawing Competition alongside artist Dexter Dalwood.

Louise is currently working on both a publication and a further drawing-based exhibition related to :Xenotopia.

Louise Clarke graduated from Central St Martins in 1997 and gained her MA from the Royal College Of Art in 1999 and was a Fellow of the RCA in 2000. She was formerly assistant to the late artist Helen Chadwick.

Research group affiliations

Fine Art Practice Group

Publications and outputs 

  • Exquisite Corpsing
    Exquisite Corpsing Clarke, Louise In her latest drawing column, Louise Clarke enjoys the frisson of 'picture consequences'. The use of games and tricks in order to overcome inhibitions regarding drawing with others and working together through a process.
  • We Are What We Eat
    We Are What We Eat Clarke, Louise In the latest edition of her regular column, Louise Clarke observes our eternal obsession with images of food. Regular column regarding drawing accompanied by a drawn piece of art.
  • Cutting up rough
    Cutting up rough Clarke, Louise Montage is now firmly embedded in fine art education and practice, with John Stezaker's decisively cut photographic collages now as ubiquitous as Picasso's drawings in a Foundation courses' arsenal of references. In her latest column, Louise Clarke uses an invitation to hold a workshop at Fermynwoods Contemporary Art, in Northamptonshire, as a timely excuse to re-engage in the punk-style liberation of cutting out, photocopying and collaging.
  • Haptic
    Haptic Clarke, Louise Haptic is one of two short texts in the book of ideas by performance and endurance artist John Court published in 'an idea of performance a idea of art: By John Court' (Frame Contemporary Art, Finland 2017). This is a large collation of many notebooks which contain John Courts drawings, notes, sketches and ideas for drawing based performances, spanning a period of five years. Other contributing authors include Márcio Carvalho, Phil Sawdon, Sandra Johnston, Victoria Gray, Jonas Stampe, Yingmei Duan, Deborah Harty, Nathan Walker, Shannon Cochrane and Dider Morelli By invitation from John Court, Haptic is one of two texts that respond to John Courts endurance drawing practice. Haptic articulates the visceral impact of his practice.
  • 200 Words
    200 Words Clarke, Louise 200 Words is one of two short texts in the book of ideas by performance and endurance artist John Court published in 'an idea of performance a idea of art: By John Court' (Frame Contemporary Art, Finland 2017). This is a large collation of many notebooks which contain John Courts drawings, notes, sketches and ideas for drawing based performances, spanning a period of five years. Other contributing authors include Márcio Carvalho, Phil Sawdon, Sandra Johnston, Victoria Gray, Jonas Stampe, Yingmei Duan, Deborah Harty, Nathan Walker, Shannon Cochrane and Dider Morelli By invitation from John Court, 200 Words is one of two texts that respond to John Courts endurance drawing practice. 200 Words was submitted as a new and original language based art work as a kind of aleatoric antiphon to his visceral practice and performance notes.
  • Five Years
    Five Years Clarke, Louise The 'Five Years' publication catalogues all the exhibitions presented at NN Contemporary Art, Northampton, UK from 2012-2017. Louise Clarke was commissioned to make a new artwork as part of a group exhibition 'Climbing The Double Helix' which celebrated the centenary of the birth of Northampton-born Francis Crick. Crick along with James Watson, won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1962 for the discovery of the DNA molecule. Other artists in the exhibition also making unique new works were Liz Collini and Heather Dewey-Hagborg. 'Louise Clarke created an immersive fibre optic installation of cascading ponytails and an exterior piece in the windows of the gallery, using reflective vinyl to reference hair that is carried down through the generations both genetically and culturally through lockets.' - Catherine Hemelryk. Louise Clarke was commissioned to make two new art works specifically for this exhibition. One utilised fibre optics, drawing with them in a light based installation and the other work activated the windows of the gallery as a locket offering the public an opportunity to take photographs of themselves with a variety of different hair pieces.
  • Marginalia
    Marginalia Clarke, Louise In her latest drawing-based column, artist Louise Clarke trawls the libraries of Leicester and laments the apparent demise of subversive drawing in the margins. The Saatchi Gallery Magazine: Art&Music dedicated the 37 issue to Joe Orton, playwright from Leicester. This regular column for drawing by Louise Clarke took Joe Ortons defacement of library books as the imputus to investigate contemporary marginalia in the libraries of Leicester.
  • The Case For Pencils: Pencils
    The Case For Pencils: Pencils Clarke, Louise Image of Louise Clarke's tools - drawings of and by pencils A new piece of art work relating to pencils and made by pencils.
  • Toy Hack
    Toy Hack Clarke, Louise Fermynwoods Contemporary Art run a programme of alternative education specifically for young people who are permanently excluded from school, dual registered and for school age mothers. The programme invites artists to work with the young people to engage in art works and pedagogical activities. Louise Clarke's workshop, Toy Hack used deconstruction and construction of toys as a way to build and explore narratives and characters. The small sculptures helped dexterity, problem solving and working together promoting discussion and ideas. The works were later drawn and photographed introducing focused study, decision making, editing and technical skills. This work is direct and a tangible outcome of an engaged art practice. Art as pedagogy in the community
  • :Xenotopia
    :Xenotopia Clarke, Louise As a practice-based researcher, my enquiries probe if and how, our infant encounters with objects and space within the domestic and other environments, form and frame our perpetual journeys towards an ‘ideal’ location? How might this primal landscape that becomes the inherent blueprint by which we measure all our future dwellings and navigations of space and place manifest through art? If this latent psycho-geographical map fuels our aspirations, creativity and our social and political perspectives, then can it be identified through the artistic representation of a unique imagined place of perfection, a visualisation of an alien paradise? The concept of Utopia allows us the creative device to explore incongruous or apocryphal places and societies. As a curated research outcome (2015), the group exhibition :Xenotopia presented 14 internationally prominent artists’ approaches to ‘out-of-place places’, particularly strange, fictitious architecture and ‘xenospaces’, imagined, meta-geographic locations that exist only theoretically, ethereally or subconsciously. ‘Xenotopia’ is the term coined by British writer Robert McFarlane to describe an uncanny landscape, perhaps a place that serves a practical function, either in its imagined manifestation or as a useful, fantastical device to steer us through our daily lives or meanderings. It inherently encompasses fact and fiction and a sense of the ineffable and sublime – something familiar and knowable, yet strange. Through this visual paper I will present ideas formulated from the work in and beyond the exhibition. These are anachronistic works that marry unfamiliar and idealised elements in a kind of flux where the alien meets the quotidian and the recognizable becomes unknown expressed through psycho-geographic ambiguity or putative architectural paradise. Example Artists in :Xenotopia Exhibition and future publication: Emily Allchurch, Amba Sayal-Bennett, Berenika Boberska, Pablo Bronstein, Rachel Clewlow, Noémie Goudal, Sarah Anne Johnson, Katherine Jones, Catriona Leahy, Theo Miller,Paul Noble, Grayson Perry, David Price and Jenny Wiener

Click here to see a full list of Louise's research outputs

Key research outputs

A recent (December 2015) curatorial output was :Xenotopia, a group exhibition of 14 artists including Turner Prize winner Grayson Perry and DMU alumni Theo Miller (artists: Emily Allchurch, Amba Sayal-Bennett, Berenika Boberska, Pablo Bronstein, Rachel Clewlow, Noémie Goudal, Sarah Anne Johnson, Katherine Jones, Catriona Leahy, Theo Miller, Paul Noble, Grayson Perry, David Price and Jenny Wiener). :Xenotopia was a wide-ranging creative audit of ‘out-of-place places’, particularly strange, fictitious architecture and ‘xenospaces’, imagined, meta-geographic locations that exist only theoretically, ethereally or subconsciously. ‘Xenotopia’ is a term coined by British writer Robert McFarlane to describe an uncanny landscape. Xeno is the Greek word for ‘other’, or that which is ‘different in origin’, while topia is the suffix deployed by Thomas Moore in his 1516 book, Utopia – a work of political philosophy manifested through the depiction of a fictionalized island society.

Through the expanded medium of print, each of the artists showing in :Xenotopia offered their own unique explorations and visualisations of similarly fictional but redolent places of psycho-geographic ambiguity or putative architectural fantasy. The works displayed a range of, often tangential, anachronistic or merely tenuous connections and approaches to the printmaking medium.

This research output will continue with further outcomes being a possible publication and another exhibition utilising drawing as a way of investigating and articulation personal xenotopias.

Research interests/expertise

  • Feral
  • :Xenotopia.
  • Utopia.
  • Architecture.
  • Psychology of space
  • Primal Landscape
  • Printmaking
  • Drawing
  • Installation.
  • Fine art practices
  • Curation
  • Fiction
  • Cultural commentary
  • Art as education
  • Drawing as language.
  • Drawing in education.
  • Communication and learning through Drawing.

Areas of teaching

  • Fine Art.
  • Printmaking.
  • Contextual and Professional Studies

Qualifications

  • MA Fine Art: Printmaking / Royal College of Art, London
  • 1st Class BA: Fine Art and PhotoMedia / Central St Martins, London

Courses taught

  • BA Fine Art – Printmaking. Contextual and Professional Studies. Fine Art.
  • MA Fine Art – Fine Art.

Honours and awards

  • Elephant Trust – Production Grant – May 2004
  • Stanley Picker Fellow: Printmaking – Kingston University, Kingston – 1999-2000
  • Printmaking Fellow – RCA, London – 1999-2000
  • Printmaking Fellow – Gloucester University, Cheltenham – 1999-2000
  • Basil Alkazzi Research Travel Award – Research visit to N.Y, USA – 1998
  • Aylesford Newsprint Company – Selected Prize – December 1997
  • Faulkner Fine Art Prize – Judged by Bruce McLean – April 1996

Professional esteem indicators

Judge:

The Saatchi Gallery Showdown: Drawing: an online competition that gives artists from all over the world a chance to showcase their work and have it be judged by internationally acclaimed artists and curators. (Dexter Dalwood, Louise Clarke and Gemma de Cuz) https://www.saatchiart.com/showdown/finalist/showdown/8

Judge:

Invitation to judge Art Open (2014) at the Gibberd Gallery, Harlow along with Paul Hedge Director of Hales Gallery

External:

Anglia Ruskin – MA Fine Art and MA Printmaking

Review and cultural commentary:

Louise writes a regular column in the quarterly The Saatchi Gallery Magazine: Art & Music and was its guest editor for a 2011 issue dedicated to the question ‘Is drawing still relevant?’, synthesising the work and critical thinking of a variety of cultural practitioners in order to survey drawing’s currency.

Case studies

Review:
Nick Smith, Editor Relief Press reviewed :Xenotopia http://artmag.saatchigallery.com/xenotopia/

Review:
:Xenotopia - Exhibition Review
Paul Bayley ; Bayley, Paul 
Subject: :Xenotopia Exhibition, Utopia, Fine Art, Printmaking 
Citation: Bayley, P. (2016) The Saatchi Gallery Magazine: Art & Music. pp. 65 
Description:Review of :Xenotopia group exhibition. Curated by Louise Clarke. Artists in :Xenotopia Exhibition and future publication: Emily Allchurch, Amba Sayal-Bennett, Berenika Boberska, Pablo Bronstein, Rachel Clewlow, Noémie Goudal, Sarah Anne Johnson, Katherine Jones, Catriona Leahy, Theo Miller,Paul Noble, Grayson Perry, David Price and Jenny Wiener
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2086/12238 ISSN: 2042-1648 Date: 2016-03 

Article:
David Sheppard musician compiled a play list for :Xenotopia which was published on http://artmag.saatchigallery.com/the-sound-of-mountains/ 

Louise Clarke Portrait

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