Born in Knoxville Tennessee, Kathryn Clark spent her formative years in North Florida, Georgia and Alabama before moving to San Francisco in her twenties. Spanning these diverse regions made her sensitive to the cultural differences and divisions between these cultures. A passion for the social benefits of urban planning and a fascination with maps led her to work for Peter Calthorpe, a visionary in the field of urban planning. While there, she learned the craft of presenting hard data to clients using approachable maps and models. She left the planning field in 2004 and shifted her passion of sociology and geography into her artwork.
Kathryn Clark explores the current erosion of democracy in the United States in a mostly textile based practice. Combining the approachable nature of textiles with documentation, her work engages the audience and then confronts defenses of what a culture ‘knows’. She draws from her background as an urban planner and architect to manipulate architectural pillars of democracy and show them as fragile existences that are being picked apart and torn down. Maps, flags, detailed drawings and careful titling carry implicit political references that can change meaning by who views it while leaving behind an historical record for future generations. Her art is widely exhibited across the U.S. and has been featured in several publications including The Craft Companion, 2016, Quilts and Human Rights, 2016 and Craft for the Modern World: The Renwick Gallery Collection, 2015 as well as American Craft Magazine, Planning Magazine, Uppercase and New American Paintings. Her work is in permanent collections at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the International Quilt Study Center & Museum and the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts.