Thomas A. Clark

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Artist’s books by Thomas A. Clark are currently on display on Level 2 of the Main Library.

The poet and artist Thomas A. Clark was born in Greenock, Scotland in 1944. His work has been consistently attentive to form and to the experience of walking in the landscape, returning again and again to the lonely terrain of the Highlands and Islands.

In 1973, he started Moschatel Press with the artist Laurie Clark. At first a vehicle for small publications by Ian Hamilton Finlay, Cid Corman, Jonathan Williams, Simon Cutts and others, it soon developed into a means of formal investigation in his own poetry, treating the book as imaginative space, the page as a framing device or as quiet around an image or a phrase, the turning of pages as revelation or delay. Since the creation of his independent publishing press, Thomas A. Clark has produced collections of poetry, and numerous small books and cards.

From 1986, Thomas and Laurie have run Cairn Gallery, one of the earliest ‘artist-run spaces’, specialising in Land Art, Minimalism and a lyrical or poetic Conceptualism. After many years in the Cotswolds, the Clarks moved in 2002 to re-open the gallery in Pittenweem, a small fishing harbour in Fife. Cairn Gallery has shown the work of Alan Charlton, Trevor Sutton, Peter Liversidge, Hamish Fulton, Ian Whittlesea and many others. The gallery was presented on the exhibition Life/Live, curated by Hans-Ulrich Obrist at the Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville, Paris, in 1996.

In addition to his books and smaller publications, Thomas A. Clark has also made site-specific installations or interventions in galleries, public spaces or in the landscape, and has many works in permanent collections world-wide. A large collection of his work was installed throughout the New Stobhill Hospital in Glasgow.

Included with one of the artist’s books is an essay entitled ‘Line and Line About’ by David Reason. The essay reflects on the poetry of Thomas A. Clark, and, in its analysis of language and its use, cites The Sublime Object of Ideology by Slavoj Zizek. If you would like to read the essay, or view more of the artist’s books, then it’s possible to do so on request at the Librarians’ Office on Level 2 of GSA Library.

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