Wesley Clark was born in Washington, DC, and grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting from Syracuse University and a Master of Fine Arts from George Washington University — where he was twice awarded the Morris Louis Fellowship in 2010 and 2011; a fellowship primarily awarded once per incoming graduate class.
Clark primarily creates mixed media wood assemblages that read as familiar to the general masses and are often hybrids of two or more objects or concepts. He refers to these objects as artifacts or fictional artifacts, made to look as if they’ve lived a life prior to being on display and prompting viewers to question their importance and create their own narratives based on their experiences. Clark infuses social and political criticisms into his works; merging the historical with the contemporary, to speak on issues faced by Blacks in America.
“The foundation of the work is to challenge and draw parallels between historical and contemporary cultural issues. My primary focus surrounds blacks in America and the African Diaspora. I examine the psyche of young black males feeling like a target and being targeted. I question tradition or the lack of tradition and the role it plays on one’s values today. Objects that are antiques or antiqued are associated with historical relevance and wealth. By placing these issues in an antiqued object, I am establishing the value in furthering a discussion around a particular issue. Analyzing historic and present social and economic disparities are what shape my conceptual process.
Consideration of materials occurs as I invent the object’s life and history. The materials are selected as a means to tell the story and chosen for their accessibility and workability. New materials, such as plywood, clue the viewer into the modernity of the work and that they are on stage. These material clues support a fictitious narrative prompting the viewer to work through their own invented narrative.”