view in the Main Gallery is Creative Sovereignty: Recent Works
by Gerald Clarke. Gerald Clarke is a Cahuilla Native who lives
with his wife and children on the reservation in Riverside County,
California, where he runs cattle and has a self-storage business.
Having been told he was not college material upon graduating from
high school, Clarke studied the welding trade, a move that has stood
him in good stead as a sculptor. Now with his BA from University
of Central Arkansas and an MFA from Stephen F. Austin State University
in Texas, he is a well-known sculptor, as well as a conceptual,
installation, and performance artist who teaches ethnic studies
at UC Riverside. (He previously served as visual arts chair at Idyllwild
Arts Academy.) Clarke's artwork reflects on his heritage and the
current conditions of Native communities, as well as conveying his
personal views as an individual artist in the 21st century. He has
exhibited widely in California and beyond.
Clarke's work defies
categorization. The works in this exhibition range from bronze sculpture
and painting to works of ink and brands on paper. Creating Sovereignty
includes references to Clarke's ranching work on the Cahuilla reservation,
such as the branding irons he created. These are part of his exhibition
as art objects, and are also used as art implements in his branded
paper artworks. His take on the Cahuilla basket-weaving tradition
has involved found objects such as beer and soda cans, a reference
to Native health issues of diabetes and alcoholism. Clarke's particular
blend of serious intention with wry humor is captivating—it seems
simple, but goes deep. Reflecting universal themes through his particular
lens on history and current events, the artist holds up a new mirror
of meaning to Native and non-native viewers alike. Clarke has commented
that he initially fell into the trap of seeing his role as educator
to non-natives, and only later realized that he needed to communicate
to Native communities as well.
To learn more about the artist and his work, come to
the Artist Talk on closing Sunday,
Aug 11, at 3:30 pm.
Sanchez Art Center
is located at 1220 Linda Mar Blvd in Pacifica, about a mile east
of Highway 1. Following opening night, the galleries are open Friday,
Saturday, and Sunday, 1–5 pm, and by appointment, through August
11. For more information, email info@SanchezArtCenter.org
or call 650.355.1894.