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Student Painter Maura Clark’s Work Emanates A Spirit Of Support

Penn State is filled with talented students, but no two Nittany Lions excel in exactly the same way. Some are competitors on the field, some work to make the world a better place, and some have an eye for the arts.

Painter Maura Clark is one of the latter. The Schreyer Honors College senior is wrapping up her final semester at Penn State this winter, double majoring in history and painting. Clark has always had an affinity for painting, but was initially unsure about majoring in art.

“I decided to major in history because I thought going for art would be risky,” she explained. “I took one painting class here because it was always something I loved to do. My professor suggested that I make art my double major, which is exactly what I ended up doing.”

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Clark explaining her piece, “She Isn’t Missing, She’s At The Farm Right Now.”

Though Clark’s paintings seem simple, there’s complexity to her work. Her current style is based on memories, thoughts, and dreams. In her art, Clark aims is to identify certain feelings or moods that seem isolating for some, but are actually universal.

Clark uses a repetitive style of tally marks and symbols in her piece, “She Isn’t Missing, She’s At The Farm Right Now,” to illustrate the act of recalling memories. The piece mimics ancient methods of marking time, whether that be on a cave wall or in a prison cell.

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The tally marks in Clark’s piece are used to represent memories or thoughts. The faded, white area represents the act of forgetting.

In her artistic statement she shares: “These pieces are imprints from memories and repeated thoughts. Each one a fleeting dream, a delicate distance. Struggling to see the atmosphere, as one attempts to remember their own history. These paintings show how the unexplained function of the mind is imagined in the physical realm.”

Another specific piece called, “There Were None” highlights the isolated feeling one gets when experiencing something unexpected, particularly a traumatic or sad event. Though tragic events can feel isolating for some individuals, Clark’s piece aims to show that, in reality, you are surrounded by peopling who may feel the same way. The piece is comprised of 1,002 strings, which can serve to symbolize either people or a way of organizing emotions and thoughts.

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Maura Clark’s piece “There Were None” is comprised of 1,002 hanging strings.

Though Clark plans to move to the city, she’s happy that she decided to attend Penn State. She believes the wide range of variety and versatility is a great source of inspiration — something you can’t always get at a small, urban arts college.

“Some of my friends in art school are completely surrounded by creativity, which is great,” she said. “But at Penn State I have so much more. I’m able to pursue my passion in art, but get involved in other activities too. There’s more things to bounce my ideas off of and draw inspiration from.”

Maura Clark - Patterson Gallery
Clark’s exhibit in the Patterson Gallery.

Clark certainly isn’t your average artist, locked up in a studio all day — she’s just as involved as any other Penn State student. Clark was a member of the Dancer Relations committee, and even danced independently at THON. She’s also a Lion Ambassadors and tutors in speech on campus.

After wrapping up her final classes, Clark plans on being a gallery assistant in New York City. Clark is a great example of someone who was able to embrace the classic Penn State culture, but simultaneously pursue a passion for the arts.

About the Author

Carolyn Popescu

Current senior studying Advertising and Visual Arts, Carolyn has a passion for entertainment and music. She also loves photography, film, graphic design, social media, and all things in between. She's the current Sony Music Marketing Representative for State College, so be sure to reach out to her with any local music scene questions, ideas, proposals, or if you just need someone to geek out about music with.

(Contact her through [email protected] or [email protected])

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