Mary Hark - Madison, WI
Driftless Reveries: Work in Paper & Cloth

Born and educated in the midwestern part of the United States, Mary Hark's most recent body of work is a consideration the landscape of South Central Wisconsin and Eastern Minnesota. Produced during a period of transition, Hark reflected on the physical topography as well as the cultural and spiritual tenor of the place in which she has lived most of her life, while she made these new pieces.

The work is constructed primarily from handmade flax and linen papers, with linen cloth and other materials that carry a variety of surface qualities. These constructed paintings allow Hark to explore, among other things, the intrinsic properties of handmade paper. Absorbed color and highly textured surfaces can consider ideas that are dark and earthy, as well as luminous, airy and elegantly fragile. Hark's work considers the poetry in accidental marks, the tenderness of flaw, the transformative potential of attention and labor.

She comments, “I find beauty in the accidental marks left on the materials we handle daily. I build these pieces by continually fixing the mistakes: cutting out, covering up and adding a new bit, until it feels complete and beautiful. With this accumulation of attention and labor, sometimes the worst mistake yields the most beautiful surface.”

Mary Hark received an MA from the University of Iowa, where she worked with Naomi Shedl and Tim Barrett before finishing her graduate work at the School of Art Institute of Chicago in Fiber and Material Studies. In 2006 she was awarded a Fulbright Senior Research Grant to Sub-Saharan Africa.

Mary Hark is currently an Assistant Professor in Design Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and is the proprietor of HARK! Handmade Paper Studio which specializes in producing small editions of high quality flax and linen paper for fine press as well unique paperworks that have been shown internationally. Her fine press papers are carried locally through Iowa City area artist Elizabeth Munger and her online paper supply source, http://papernestpress.com

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