1. Heavenly Delights Over the Valley, 1974, Painted collage on graph paper and tissue paper, 48 x 63 cm, Latrobe Regional Gallery Collection, purchased 1974.
Born in Gippsland in 1954, Glen Clarke is an artist working with collage, painting and sculpture. In 1976 he completed a Diploma of Art & Design at the Gippsland Institute of Advanced Education now known as Federation University Gippsland campus.
Latrobe Regional Gallery acquired works from Clarke following the completion of his diploma, which share diagrammatic qualities, such as in the work Heavenly delights over the valley. A clear connection to diagrams and mapping in his work is graph paper and a literal copy of a map of the Latrobe Valley.
Across the top of the work, a decoratively dashed line on tissue acts as an abstract form of measurement, perhaps for distance or weather, a timeline, or multiple factors. Some colours used across this floating line appear in some parts over the map, shading areas in blue pencils or spotting with ink. The artist’s use of graph paper layered on the background above the map is placed diagonally, alluding to orientation or the Latrobe Valley atmosphere. An atomised spray of ink appears in this section, like a mist of rainfall running down into the creeks.
Clarke’s diagrammatic collages, drawings and paintings are also a precursor to the sculptural explorations of his practice, as the overlay of materials become a flattened reference of three-dimensional space. The intersection of sculpture and painting is explored in the artwork Missing you, which comprises three chairs of different sizes that float on the wall. When this artwork was made, the artist had moved to Tasmania to undertake a Master of Fine Art at the Tasmanian School of Art, Hobart and his wife and daughter concurrently travelled overseas. These chairs, symbolic of domestic family life, are autobiographical of Clarke’s feeling of displacement and disconnection from family, as the chairs above appear to be departing from the ground.