I was born in New Orleans, Louisiana and lived with my parents and sisters, Mary Clark Hollins and Kitty Clark Manson, until I was eighteen. I attended Metairie Park Country Day School, kindergarten through the twelfth grade. I was fortunate to go to this wonderful school because it celebrated the arts and encouraged us to excel in them. I graduated from Country Day in 1962. The next year I attended Converse College, in Spartanburg, SC. The Cuban Missile Crisis happened that fall. I left Converse after one year, to marry. President John Kennedy was assassinated in the fall of 1963. Twelve years and three incredible children later, I divorced. During those years, the Vietnam War and Civil Rights Movement happened. I wanted to go back to school. I attended Agnes Scott College for three years, and transferred to Georgia State University to study Art. I graduated with honors in1983 and moved to Black Mountain, NC and began painting professionally. My studio was a small room in a rental house. In 1985 I moved to Asheville, NC and located a studio on Broadway. I moved again to a studio in the Riverlink building in 1991. With the leadership of Karen Cragnolian ( Riverlink) and Gayle McCarthy (Highwater Clay) I helped organize the first, soon to be River Arts District, Open Studios. There were five participating artists at that time.
The act of painting is a way to express the often complicated and multi layered experiences of living, while observing a present and immediate, or distant event. The process of painting is cathartic, and brings me back to myself. It’s the way I have found to compact into a singular form, what I have observed, thought, and felt about a personal experience or an event in the larger world.
The primary and underlying theme of my work since 1983 has been about loss and mourning. Loss of a loved one, either through death or separation, loss of places, loss of safety, loss of species, loss of hope, are the things I think about. Personal happy or difficult interactions with people can be a theme. Psychological, political, and environmental concerns can enter into a painting. A particular location can be inspirational. On occasion, a painting is made for the uncomplicated pleasure of using the materials.
To conclude a painting, an order must be found within a defined space. At the same time, I stay open to new and unexpected visual, mental and emotional insights. When new visual discoveries present themselves, they may change an already existing composition or direction.
There is a visceral sense of rightness at the end of a painting. It may not be, what it looked like it would be, somewhere along the way. Sometimes a struggle occurs between me and a painting, which can take a very long time to resolve. I paint because it is always a new painting, a new learning experience.
My hope is that there is an energetic and intimate connection that happens between a painting, a viewer, and me. Painting continues to be a personal act of spiritual gratitude and wonder.
Upstairs Artspace Gallery, Tryon, NC; Boldly Abstract
Asheville Area Arts Council, Asheville, NC; A Girl and a Gun: Asheville Artists Cope with Love and Death, Curated by Taiyo La Paix (12/13/13-1/24/14)
Cabarrus Arts Council, Concord, NC; The Edge
Mobile Museum of Art, Mobile, Alabama; Todays Visual Language: Southern Abstraction, A Fresh Look
Hickory Museum of Art, Hickory, NC; Waking Up with Van Gogh, Curated by
University of North Carolina, Asheville, NC; UNCA Invitational Art Exhibition
William King Museum, Abingdon, VA; To Transgress: Paintings By Betty Clark
Lark Books, Asheville, NC; Pet Show
Drew Dean Gallery, Brevard, NC; 360 Degree
Upstairs Gallery, Tryon, NC; String of Pearls
Asheville Art Museum, Asheville, NC; Make It New, Curated by Ron Platt, Curator of Birmingham Museum of Art
Black Mountain Center for the Arts, Black Mountain, NC; Betty Clark: Paintings
Robert Rentz Gallery, Richmond, VA; Small Works Invitational
Robert Rentz Gallery, Richmond, VA; Group Exhibition
Robert Rentz Gallery, Richmond, VA; Betty Clark Paintings
Upstairs Gallery, Tryon, NC; Curator’s Choice
16 Patton Avenue Gallery, Asheville, NC; New Artists
River Arts District, Asheville, NC; Summer Studio Stroll
Conn Gallery, Landrum, SC; Of Color and Composition
Studio 354, Brooklyn, NY; World Trade Center Memorial Fund Exhibition
Asheville Art Museum, Asheville, NC.;Walk on Air
Fay Gold Gallery, Atlanta, GA; Summer Exhibition
Blue Spiral 1, Asheville, NC; Abstraction, A Parallel Reality
Conn Gallery, Landrum, SC; Women Artists in Asheville
Fay Gold Gallery, Atlanta, GA; Opening New Space Exhibition
Chelsea Gallery, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC. Betty Clark: Born of Intimate Light
Metairie Park Country Day School, New Orleans, LA
Agnes Scott College, Decatur, GA
Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA
For a complete CV of other exhibitions, representation, publications, public and corporate collections, bibliography, grants and awards, please contact Bender Gallery.