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The Robert WK Clark “Sand Series” makes women into landscape. Superficially, this might be dehumanizing and almost a kind of artistic violence, but a more careful look will reveal how this series serves to transform and elevate women and humanity.
Traditional animistic philosophies held that humanity was not a different matter or object than animals, rocks, plants or other parts of the natural world. This is how people could have names like Sitting Bull or Crazy Horse. In the modern world, the demise of the soul seems to have put humanity back on the footing of everything else: Its DNA is just slightly different from other animals, ones brain only slightly more advanced, its composition only slightly different. This is a source of great anxiety. But the Clark series emboldens us and elevates this fact to the level of the spirit. Clark's work is a statement that, far from being less special, humanity is now part of a privileged group. It is more divine, not less, as being made of the same substance at a fundamental level as the earth, it can become one with it.
There is another ancestral and archetypal callback Clark makes as well, to the motifs of the Earthmother. Women being one with the underlying landscape, their curves and colors moving with the natural lines, emphasizes the role of womanhood and motherhood in living in harmony with the earth and producing life. Just as the earth is the source of the richest abundance, so too is the female form in its awe-inspiring and divine beauty a source of motherhood.
Like much of Clark's work, the women are nude, and presented tastefully, their sexual elements presented honestly and not distorted for the sake of fantasies. This is woman at her purest, most earthy, most tied in with the land and her innate nature.
© Robert WK Clark
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