Athlone Clarke (b. 1956, Spanish Town, Jamaica), lives and works in Atlanta, GA. By combining acrylic painting and found objects, he creates pieces to explore the complexities and nuances of the African diaspora. His works are a reminder of our collective memories and the importance of recontextualizing and reclaiming our cultural and aesthetic legacies. Through vibrant color, texture, and composition, he seeks to challenge and disrupt traditional narratives, while also celebrating the strength, resilience, and beauty of both his individual identity and the collective experience of his community.
Clarke’s unique process is fueled by his belief that objects possess both unique memory and energy. This includes where an object originates, its journey, and the moment he finds the objects. At that point, these objects may be deemed as useless or without purpose however it is through Clarke’s composition that he able to breathe a second life into said objects. This belief of his was further reaffirmed when he came across the Japanese concept of Tsukumogami. Since then, the ability to tap into the memory and energy of objects has become crucial to his expression. This belief coupled with the fact that Clarke feels we live in a throw-away society, which even extends to people, motivates him to push his boundaries and remind his audience that everything and everyone around us has its own purpose and value.
Clarke is a self-taught artist who has been painting for over two decades. His work has been included in exhibitions at the Auburn Avenue Research Library, Atlanta; Kentuck Museum & Art Center, Alabama; Historic Ward Rooming House Gallery, Miami; Carnegie Visual Arts Center, Alabama; and the Gregg Museum of Art and Design, North Carolina; among others.