Meetings are a large component of public health, and the space where many of my artistic concepts emerged. My series, “Meeting Notes” began in meetings where I found myself listening and sketching. After a few years of meetings, I amassed over 300 unique drawings. The sketches, drawn somewhat subconsciously, resembled masks. I examined the concept of masks closer and in the process started to create large scale versions of the sketches. I primarily use painting and collage to recreate the sketches from my meetings. Through this process a revelation emerged; masks were traditionally used to conceal an identity, the mask can also be used to help myself and others communicate by illuminating and amplifying the unseen parts of who we are. The mask is a map of our individual identity; each region highlighting a unique part of our persona through its design. The nature of the mask is rooted in and inspired by the tradition of our ancestors. It is a retrospective that helps us explore our beginnings in order to understand where and who we are now.
Sean Gerard Clark is a native of Chattanooga, Tennessee who has lived and worked in New Orleans for the past six years. Before coming to New Orleans, Sean graduated from Morehouse College with a Bachelors of Science in Biology with a concentration in Public Health and African-American Studies. Sean has always found art as a tool for navigating life throughout his work and academic career.Sean’s artistic voice began in childhood, however his active art voice began when he started painting to cope with the stress of school. He began his artistic practice as a landscape painter and over the years has transitioned into a variety of subjects that investigate the human condition. Sean is a self-taught artist who favors the use of palette knives, oil and acrylic paints, and collage materials. In 2018 Sean was featured as a solo artist during From Africa to Appalachia Foundation’s 30th Anniversary show titled, “Ancestors”. Sean’s mixed media piece, “Unresolved Grief” was featured in Harvard’s Advanced Leadership Initiative as a part of the organization's efforts to increase emotional awareness of mental health issues. Sean recently participated in Young Contemporary Collectors juried exhibition in Memphis, TN. Coupled with his time as a health educator, he has led several art classes that focus on helping students find their own creative voice through journal and mask making. Throughout his artistic career he has been influenced by artist such as Sammie Nicely, Jean Michel Basquiat, Benny Andrews and Bill Sienkiwicz along with writers such as James Baldwin and Ralph Ellison. From this point of inspiration, Sean has created works to reflect identity and history, while sparking ideas in the minds of viewers.
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