Ann Clarke, originally from Rochester, NY, is a fiber artist who received an MFA from Rhode Island School of Design. She holds a bachelor of fine arts degree in painting and printmaking from the University of Michigan. Clarke has spent the majority of her professional career in academia as a higher education administrator and faculty member at Syracuse University. In 1998, she joined SU as a faculty member in Fiber Arts/Material Studies. In 2008, she was named the Dean of Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts, and returned to faculty in 2016.
Her recent works explore reconstructed narratives—memory and meaning. Eye portals are a reflective look at the past and how it informs us of the present. The exaggerated scale of these eye portals, that dome and protrude from the wall are like eyes in the past breaking through the wall, or one’s past peering into the present as thoughts made manifest. Their size and color, odd, and perhaps unnerving while the lush tufted construction evokes the promise of comfort never provided. The portals become readable as eyes as one increases one’s distance from the gaze. I see these as portraits of speciﬁc people from history and lives lived.
Clarke’s knitted rug series is similarly influenced by the intersection of past and present, informed by the experiences of her mother’s life and her changing relationship with time. I refer to the series as History Lessons. All are connected by the use text, readable and not — a found letter, old study notes and archived images of papers from historic figures long gone — juxtaposed with figurative images from past and present reflecting a constantly fluid expression of time.