A consideration of the physical environments in which I live and work, Driftless Reveries responds to the physical topography of Central Minnesota and South-Central Wisconsin, and the built environment of Kumasi, Ghana, where I spend several months each year. This work celebrates the spiritual and cultural tenor specific to each place, while acknowledging the influence each has brought to my own particular artistic vision.
Made from handmade flax and linen papers, linen cloth, and other materials that carry a variety of surface qualities, with these constructed paintings I explore, among other things, the intrinsic properties of handmade paper.
“Mary Hark’s paintings combine handmade papers and cloth into an intricate ground, stitched together with thread and built up into a complex stratigraphy with paint, wax, textile dyes, inks, and pencil marks. Large in scale, they appear both delicate and resilient. Their layered surfaces invoke the patina of time: the slow, subtle erosion of a well-thumbed page, the careless beauty of mended clothing, the evocative fissures in an old painted wall. Hark’s dedicated study of both paper and textile techniques lends her surfaces a particular depth. She crosses traditional boundaries with knowledge and respect, creating a rich and surprising body of mixed-media work.”
—Jody Clowes, Director, Wisconsin Academy James Watrous Gallery