Stephen Clarke is an artist and writer. His research and practice are concerned with the representation of place; this often relates to travel and engagement with Cultural Heritage. Stephen’s work explores the connections between photography, collage and graphic image making, and is informed by his of on-going discourse with several artists.
In collaboration with David Ferry (Emeritus Professor of Printmaking and Book Arts, Cardiff School of Art and Design) I have been exploring what he refers to as a ‘collage mentality’. In a paper on Ferry’s visual re-scripting of the 1970s cult horror film The Wicker Man, titled ‘Summerisle Revisited: The Artist’s Cut’ (Impact 8, International Printmaking Conference), we discussed the fabrication of location and how we read a sense of place through the interpretation and re-interpretation that the collage act instigates. These ideas were further explored in a second conference paper delivered at the University of Cumbria, titled: ‘Space Invaders: Littering the Countryside’. A number of my essays have been published in the catalogue that accompanied the exhibition David Ferry: The Invader’s Guide to the British Isles (Australia 2016).
My project ‘Holiday-ed in North Wales’ is a practical outcome of this research. Its ostensible subject is the picturing of my own family holidays at the seaside of Rhyl. The project has been exhibited, delivered as lectures and artist talks, and published as a conference paper. It led to a working relationship with Professor John K. Walton, the leading social historian on the British seaside. Within the last three years this project, re-titled ‘End of the Season’, was exhibited at Chester’s Grosvenor Museum, and the Vallum Gallery in Carlisle, University of Cumbria. As part of my research, I have written about the work of photographer Simon Roberts. Roberts has revisited the subject matter of the seaside and the British at leisure as explored by Tony Ray-Jones in the late 1960s and early 1970s. I am interested in exploring the idea of the British Road Trip. Unlike the American Road Trip, which is about discovery in a boundless terrain, the British Road Trip is defined and confirms existing identities.