Kate Clark Synthesizes human faces with Taxidermied animals

February 23, 2018

Kate Clark is a New York-based sculptor, residing and working in Brooklyn. Her work synthesizes human faces with the bodies of animals, the signature component in all of her work. These sculptures study the tension between personal and mythical realms, and draw a fine line between the characteristics of animals and humans. Kate's preferred medium is actual animal hide. Mary Logan Barmeyer says Clark's work is "meant to make you think twice about what it means to be human, and furthermore, what it means to be animal." Writer Monica Ramirez-Montagut says Clark's works "reclaim storytelling and vintage techniques as strategies to address contemporary discourses on welfare, the environment, and female struggles."

Kate Clark says of her work: "When encountering my sculptures I ask the viewer for an instinctive and primal reaction that examines our humanity.

The human race evolved culturally but not physically, creating conflicting impulses between mind and body. As our identities become abstracted, there is a tug of war between the desire for a civilized, culturally advanced life vs. an intuitive, instinctive, fearless life.

The fusion of human and animal that I create presents a fiction suggesting that our human state is fully realized when we  acknowledge both our current programming and our natural instincts. I emphasize the characteristics that separate us within the animal kingdom, and, importantly, the ones that unite us.

The wild animal hide I use has an energy and presence like no other material. I shave sections of the animal's skin to reveal porous and oily features that we recognize as our own. Stitched over a hand-sculpted human face, the material quality of the skin brings believability to the final sculpture: they are portraits we relate to. I emphasize the seams so that the faces are obviously reconstructed yet they are not monstrous, they are approachable, calm, dignified, majestic. The viewer has an intimate relationship with the face and then identifies with the full animal, acknowledging the animalistic inheritance within the human condition."