One of Bend's most celebrated artists, master printmaker and Atelier 6000 (A6) founder Patricia Clark, celebrates her 80th birthday this year. Her impressive works, which reflect a fascination with the natural world that spans six decades, will be on display at two galleries during First Friday and throughout the month of May. Her exhibit "Marks" at Piacentini Books is a collection of sketchbooks containing the artist's investigations of form, line, and shadow that inform her printmaking process. The refined works on display at A6's May exhibit, "Clark @ 80: Six Decades of Marks," is the product of the sketchbook drawings; the two shows create a harmonious reflection of an artist's process and maturation over 60 years of mark making.
Clark founded A6 in 2007 after moving to Bend as a retiree from the Arts Department of the University of California at Long Beach. The nonprofit printmaking studio is where Clark produces her work these days; it is also where untold numbers of schoolchildren have been introduced to printmaking and book arts, where local printmakers have created new works and learned from one another, and where the community has encountered art at regular exhibits and art talks hosted in the space.
"My intent is to establish a place for learning and inspiration—a studio-workshop where students learn directly from master artist teachers," said Clark.
Six such artists reflect on printmaking's influence on their creative process in a new book by Clark, titled "Marks"—available for sale at A6. Clark herself will give an art talk "A Life in Marks," on Friday, May 8 at 6 pm in the A6 Gallery.
Clark's current work is heavily influenced and inspired by the Central Oregon landscape—the artist has continued her prolific production as she nears her 80th year with an eye on the unique ecology of the High Desert. The artist's process of ordering the chaos present in the natural world, which she calls "mapping," reveals the patterns and rhythms of nature's own mark making. "It is a mapping of visions or secrets hidden in desert, sea, forest, rock strata, space and time, and patterns of the universe's galaxies," said Clark.
Both shows offer Bend's art lovers to explore one of its most beloved artists—and to celebrate the long career of an artist and teacher whose work supporting community arts education and the development of printmaking and book arts in Central Oregon is a gift to the entire community.