Return To The Primal: Kathy Clark On Finding The Ancient Feminine Divine - The Reykjavik Grapevine


Return To The Primal: Kathy Clark On Finding The Ancient Feminine Divine

Published March 11, 2019

RX Beckett
Photo by
Art Bicnick

Entering Kathy Clark’s studio is like going into a little magical world. The modest sized space located behind the Wind & Weather Gallery is adorned with hanging objects, large sculptural works and installation pieces. At the far end is a large table covered in several wax-on-paper paintings currently being prepared for her upcoming exhibition “& Again It Descends To The Earth.” The American-born artist is coming down to the wire as we meet to discuss her work.

“I’m getting my inspiration going way back in time to the primal ancient times of almost the late Neolithic period, just when civilisation is becoming agrarian and settling,” she says. “My inspiration is these people and their closeness to nature. They’re questioning all these natural phenomena that are happening around them and they feel there is some higher power, you know through the earthquakes and the rainbows and those kinds of things.” This inspiration is a call to the viewer to return to a primal state, stripping down the burdens of everyday life and finding a connection to a higher state.

Kathy Clark

Goddesses and deities

The source of her inspiration also centres greatly around the feminine divine that was prevalent during this period of history. “I find it really interesting to go back and revisit this time where they created the female goddess and the deities and the myths and stories around that and the power that the feminine, female, is the creator of life, the giver,” she says. “The strength, the power, that has been taken away from the female all through history, and we’re still struggling to this day to bring that back.”

The exhibition, set on two floors, will consist of many elements to create this experience, in which Kathy hopes to engulf the viewer. “Maybe it’ll spark something inside of them that questions their existence or something that’s significant to them that brings out some emotion,” she says.

Fertility and creation

Representing the idea of the feminine is a collection of mound formations symbolising fertility, breasts and creation, adorned with sculptures of female deities. The series of wax-on-paper paintings will introduce the ideas of lower, middle and higher ground that were of essence in that period.

“We are energy and everything around us, all living things, is energy.”

A massive collection of hieroglyphic, spell-like symbols will methodically adorn the walls to create a visual mantra. The pieces are entirely black and white, creating a stark, stripped down effect. “It’s like a subterranean world,” she says. “It will maybe make more of a dream-like quality to it.”

Ultimately, Kathy’s goal is to draw people towards a state of consciousness of connecting to parts of nature that we have lost touch with through modern living. “We are energy and everything around us, all living things, is energy,” she says. “I feel like there’s this strong connection to nature and that’s basically my work in general. I’m trying to grow into other worlds with my creatures and spirits, and telling different stories that connect us.”

Kathy Clark’s “& Again It Descends To The Earth” opened on March 2nd at Studio Sól.

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