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Bernard Clark
Tattoo Portraits
14 January – 15 April 2012

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Associated Events:

Opening Reception with Artist talk: Saturday 14 January, 7-9 pm, Atrium

Tattoo Art Dialogue: Bernard Clark and Corey Ferguson, Sunday 11 March, 2 pm
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Drawing on Bernard Clark's success as a documentary photographer of ink culture, this exhibition features composite portraits of tattooed figures in landscape and architectural settings. In the eighteen works featured in this exhibition, Clark has digitally inserted his extraordinary subjects into environments that highlight the stridency of their self-definition through markings. These transpositions, often to rustic or abandoned environments – many of which are in his home town of Kingston – are more than a form of retrieval on Clark's part. The uneasy disjunction of figure and ground emphasizes the insularity of his portrait subjects, enveloped as they are in the declarative gesture of their dramatic tattoos.

At a time when tattooing is a surging global phenomena, Clark's sensitive and at times playful displacements highlight the contemporary role of the body as a refuge of stable identity and personal expression.

In tandem with his award-winning work as a commercial photographer, Bernard Clark has cultivated an art practice focussing on social subcultures. Over the past decade, he has travelled widely in an exceptional project documenting skin
art. His work has been featured in magazines such as Skin & Ink, in online galleries, and in his 2002 book with Bob Baxter, Tattoo Road Trip: Two Weeks in Samoa.

The opening reception is 14 January, 7–9 pm. The artist will be present and will offer an introduction to Tattoo Portraits. This exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated publication with an essay by Jan Allen, available at the Art Centre's Gallery Shop and through ABC Art Books.

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Presented with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the City of Kingston and the Kingston Arts Council through the City of Kingston Arts Fund and the Celebrate Agnes Fund, Queen's University.

Image: Bernard Clark, When Darkness Falls, 2008 (detail), giclée print, 1/5. Collection of the artist